Humans on BluePath: Jill Holtman, Puppy Raiser

Jill and Ali

Jill and Ali

How it All Began : I had the pleasure of meeting a child and his autism service dog five years ago. When I saw the connection they had, and what the dog was trained to do it really left an impression on me. I wanted to do something to help. The child’s mother led me to BluePath. I was a puppy sitter for just over a year when there was an opportunity to raise Ali. The decision to raise her is one of the best decisions that I have ever made!  

Favorite Part of Volunteering for BluePath: The overall community of volunteers is a special one that I love being part of. It’s been interesting to meet new people along the way in various roles… the trainers, the staff, other raisers and fosters, the drivers, the photographers, and the person writing this article too! Everybody has the same end goal of making a difference in the life of a child with autism. It’s awesome!

Favorite Part of Puppy Raising: It is hard to pick one thing as there are many... The way that Ali has changed my life and knowing that same exact thing will happen with her forever family. Ali has connected me with wonderful people I would have never met and taken me to places I probably never would have gone to. She has brought such joy and life into the household. When I think of Ali changing the life of a family as an autism service dog, it’s hard to put into words just how beautiful of a thought that is.

Words of Wisdom for Prospective Raisers: I’m a first time puppy raiser and if you’re interested and think you can’t do it, you should know that you absolutely can. There is a fantastic community of volunteers, other raisers and trainers to support you and your puppy along the way. Yes, it’s a big decision that should be given a lot of thought. There’s a lot to learn and a commitment of your time to a puppy, but a very rewarding one!  The reward from raising a puppy makes the effort worth it.

Fast Facts:

About Jill:

Where She Lives: Upper Dutchess County, NY

Dream Vacation Spot: Italy. My Grandfather is from Italy. The history, the culture… and I would love to see Mt. Stromboli! It looks beautiful. My daughter did a report on it a few years ago and I would love to go there.

Favorite Hobbies : Anything related to nature. Being outdoors, bird-watching, photography, volunteering.

About Ali:

Newest Skill: Heel. She has it mastered!

Unique Talent : She’s often spotted crossing her front paws. She just does it on her own. Usually, it’s the left paw over the right.

Quirkiest Trait: The way she likes to sit and lay on the steps. She will sit on the steps with her back legs on the higher step, and her front paws below her on the lower step. She lays on the steps with her legs sticking out to her left side.

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