Our family was looking for a charity to volunteer with. Of course we fell in love with Occupaws on site because who wouldn't want to volunteer with puppies? Within our first month of volunteering we attended our first Occupaws Guide Dog Graduation where they were placing a young man with his first Guide Dog. This young man was the same age as our oldest daughter who we had also just lost to college. His mother stood at graduation so thankful that her son had this dog to help be his sight for him on campus since she no longer was there to help him. I thought about how scared we were sending our daughter on her own sighted, and I was just humbled to know that this dog that was raised through Occupaws helped him transition to freedom, the goal every parent wants for their child. From that day on this was so much more than raising cute puppies for us. I understood the value of waking up everyday to do our best to give each dog in our care the experiences and foundation to help those they will be serving in the future. These dogs are so special. I will forever be a changed person for being part of Occupaws. The love and care they give their raisers to take care of the dogs is exceptional. We want for nothing, and no question goes unanswered. This is one of the most personal organizations we have ever worked with.
Occupaws has changed my life. I’ve been volunteering for several years and every dog and volunteer I have met has been incredibly impressive. Helping prep guide dogs has given me an identity. If I can use an obscure skill like dog training to help a visually impaired person gain independence that’s a win for everyone. The leaders of this group are dedicated and empathetic and so knowledgeable. I am honored to be involved with such an incredible group.
We are sitters for OccuPaws Dogs. It is so amazing to meet such a wonderful group of volunteers that all work together so that a visually impaired person can have a normal life with an OccuPaws Dog. The raisers and sitters work together in training these dogs by attending classes and sharing their experiences with one another. We all work together so the dogs are all trained with the same training. It is a wonderful organization to be a part of. If you are looking for an organization to be involved with please check out their website - you will find this a very rewarding experience !
I am legally blind due to a brain injury. As such what I see does not alway register correctly with my brain. For several years I had stayed at home, due to getting hurt while walking. In November 2017, I celebrated my first year with Blessing; a service dog from Occupaws. I also celebrated one full years on no accidents while traveling, I was able to return to work as a half time volunteer in the local elementary school. My stress level in down to almost nothing. Occupaws also has some of the best trained guide dogs which has allowed me to work in classrooms with no disruptions from my dog. I have traveled quite a bit in the last year including attending training at Hines VA blind rehab school and teaching children about blindness and service dogs. With Blessing, every day I was complemented on her behavior and training. With her, I am now "welcome" in schools, hospitals and places of business. Her training was awesome. So was mine. I also highly recommend Occupaws to anyone wanting a guide dog. They are the only ones that i know of who train us the user at our home, local city or town and in my case, in my school of employment. I have gone from a recluse to active involvement in my community all thanks to the Occupaws Organisation an the awesome partner they trained for me. As her name suggest; my service dog from Occupaws is a Blessing for me! Thanks.
This organization is very caring and has very dedicated volunteers.
I am honored to be a member of the Board of OccuPaws. OccuPaws continues to provide Guide Dogs and Visual Companion Dogs to the blind and visually impaired of Wisconsin and surrounding states at no cost. Our volunteers work tirelessly to provide these dogs for free to the clients that need them. There is only one paid staff member who is our Guide Dog Instructor. All other tasks are performed by volunteers.
I researched several organizations prior to placing (2) 8 week old pups with Occupaws. I was definitely swayed by their commitment and the time they took to talk with me about the program. I am able to keep in touch and am updated regularly about my puppies. I am confident that the pups will one day be meaningful to a special person that will share their lives. I will continue to support Occupaws and would not hesitate to place future puppies with them
I am currently an active volunteer with OccuPaws Guide Dogs located in Madison, Wisconsin. I have volunteered with them on some of their larger events including Hogs For Guide Dogs, Puppies on Parmenter and their Bowl Auction. I have also volunteered with some of their smaller events at Culver's, Boston Store and others. I have always found the other volunteers to be helpful, knowledgable and friendly. The volunteers who assist in running the events are always well organized, and always have a smile on their face. If you are looking to support a local non-profit or for a place to volunteer, you won't be disappointed if you pick OccuPaws. Plus, who doesn't love to work with puppies?
I have attended a few events in the past and I am proud to support the wonderful work they do.
I have been a puppy sitter, puppy raiser, volunteer, and now joined the board to help OccuPaws further their mission of providing a Guide Dog or every adult and child in Wisconsin and the surrounding states that needs one. I have volunteered for other organizations but OccuPaws is the first that over 90% of every dollar donated goes to program expenses. The fact that hundreds of people come together to volunteer to help with every aspect of this program is very inspiring. Also there are other organizations which also provide guide dogs to the visually impaired for free, but those require the applicant to leave their home and go to a guide dog school for a month or more. Many cannot do that, and OccuPaws provides an alternative by "moving" the GDMI to the applicants location for several weeks, and trains them in their home enviornment. They are also one of the few groups to provide Visual Assistant Dogs for Children as young as 6 years old.
OccuPaws trains & places Guide Dogs for the sight impaired for free to anyone in the state of WI. They also give Guide dogs to children who are visually impaired at no charge. These dogs provide life changing service to their recipients. OccuPaws relies on donations & are constantly seeking out ways to enhance their program to help those persons with visual impairments. The volunteers & trainers at OccuPaws are truly caring, wonderful individuals who strive to place well trained dogs as permanent partners. I am honored to be a part of such an outstanding organization.
I have volunteered with Occupaws for two years now and I am amazed at the volunteerism that it fosters. It is not easy in these days to be a true non-profit but Occupaws has managed to be a compassionate and professional organization. A great organization, with a great mission, providing guide dogs at no cost to the client and doing it all with smiles and heart.
I moved to Madison, WI five months ago, and one of the first things I did was meet the Schultzes, who founded and run OccuPaws. Since I used to be a pro dog trainer, I soon began volunteering to teach classes, participating in training at Oshkosh prison, and helping write the curriculum for puppy raisers. My experience with OccuPaws has been 100% positive. Everybody I've met that volunteers with OccuPaws is very dog-savvy and enthusiastic, and they are all interested in and knowledgeable about dog behavior and positive-reinforcement training. OccuPaws is a very financially sound organization with accessible treasury reports. The organization only has one paid employee: an experienced harness trainer that does all the advanced training for the guide dogs. So any donations go directly into the program rather than paying for a bunch of directors' salaries. OccuPaws puts on very unique and well-attended fund-raisers, and are always getting creative to find funds to continue the program. In addition, I have spent time at the Schultze home, where puppies stay when they first come into the organization, and where the Schultzes themselves care for 1-3 program dogs at any given time. The Schultze's home and large grassy fenced yard are both extremely clean and tidy. Besides the yard, they have two spacious indoor/outdoor kennels that the dogs use occasionally. (All OccuPaws dogs are normally full-time indoor dogs--the kennels are used for occasional convenience on nice days). I just wanted to add something about their home, because I'm always reading about "hoarders masquerading as pet charities," so wanted to assure that everything with OccuPaws is on the up-and-up! I highly recommend supporting and volunteering with Occcupaws!