They say expecting parents go through a “nesting process” before baby arrives. Well, no human babies here but before I brought my sweet little Puppy-in-Training Arrow home in September 2015, I nested for what would become the most heartful endeavour I’d ever embarked upon in my 30 years of life so far.

It all started with fostering a puppy in need, prior to my journey with PADS. I fell in love with that dog and simultaneously burst with heartbreak and joy when he found his fur-ever home with his perfect family. The stage was set to welcome a new dog into my life but in what capacity? And then I saw a bus shelter ad… “Raise a Puppy, Change a Life”.

Some google searching and emails later, I found myself at a PADS info session, then a home interview, then puppy-raiser training. I started to follow the breeding dogs’ social media pages, eagerly wondering which litter might have just my perfect pup. When I found out it would be one from the Flash/Arrow litter, panic and excitement and joy and love flooded in. What was I getting myself into? Could I do it? Could I really be a part of a puppy’s journey toward changing someone’s life? Could I provide everything this entirely dependent being would need to thrive in life and training? Could I handle having a potentially mischievous sidekick with me all the time – at work, with friends, at sports?

With each question and worry, there was so much excitement and dogmommery setting in. Shopping for everything I could imagine him needing – bedding, dental care, this toy, that toy, all the toys, leash, gidgets, gadgets.

Then finally, the Big Day! I learned it was Arrow as he was placed in my arms. A soft, furry, somewhat bewildered 15 lb cuddle ball named Arrow. I was terrified I’d mess it all up and I was in love. I wanted to give him everything. He cried the whole way home in the foot well of the passenger seat, but was a cautiously brave little explorer when we got home.

As a green and wide-eyed new raiser, I knew I had a big task and steep, exhausting learning curve ahead of me and that sharing experiences with those around me would strengthen me, so I started a Facebook group. This Facebook group was started as a litter-specific social support page has grown to serve all sitters and raisers in BC!

Fast forward to June 2017 and Arrow has entered advanced training at PADS. He is in my heart so deeply. His every habit and quirk, the way his fur smells, his morning eye goo, his need to have a toy in his mouth to FULLY enjoy a belly rub, his morning ritual of saying hello to everyone in the office one by one, his insistence on having an ice cube at the first sign of a freezer opening, his sheer enthusiasm for each simple joy in his life. He is my baby boy for always.

From throwing the Flash/Arrow litter’s 1st birthday party at the dog park, to puppy play dates, puppy- sitting, and all the other PADS events and tasks in between, this adventure has been so fulfilling for me. Most importantly, thank you to the community and family that defines PADS.


All PADS assistance dogs are provided to clients at no cost. Behind each and every success story is a donor who makes this possible.

Tell us your PADS story

We are still accepting stories for our 30 Stories for 30 Years series. Whether you have volunteered, received a dog as a client or adopter, given of your time, money or heart… you are part of the PADS story!  Tell us how being involved with PADS has impacted you.
Ken and Riddle at PADS Grad in 2013