Become A Volunteer

This program is about training future working dogs, either service dogs for wounded war veterans or first responders, or therapy dogs for police departments, or explosive detection dogs for law enforcement. Please do not get involved in volunteering only to gauge whether your family is ready for a dog of its own. Our dogs are not pets.

To be eligible to volunteer for Puppies Behind Bars, you must be at least 18 years old and live in New York City—or within 45 minutes of one of our correctional facilities in New York or New Jersey to participate as a “puppy sitter.”

  • Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
    247 Harris Rd., Bedford Hills, NY 10507
  • Eastern Correctional Facility
    30 Institution Rd., Napanoch, NY 12458
  • Edna Mahan Correctional Facility
    30 County Rd. 513, Clinton, NJ 08809
  • Fishkill Correctional Facility 
    18 Strack Dr., Beacon, NY 12508
  • Green Haven Correctional Facility
    594 NY-216, Stormville, NY 12582
  • Otisville Correctional Facility
    57 Sanitorium Ave, Otisville, NY 10963
  • Wallkill Correctional Facility
    50 McKendrick Rd., Wallkill, NY 12589

 

Volunteer Opportunities

Our volunteer opportunities are available 7 days a week.

  • Overnight Sitters: taking dogs of all ages into your home overnight to socialize
  • Daytime Sitters:  taking dogs of all ages for a few hours to socialize
  • Paws & Reflects: taking dogs to visit with a homebound elderly person for an hour a month (NYC residents only)
  • Brood Fosters: we occasionally seek dedicated families to provide stable foster homes for our broods. Broods are essential to our program because they provide the puppies we train to become service dogs or explosive-detection canines. If you are interested in learning more about fostering one of our dogs, please call our office at 212.680.9562.

Watch as Sophia, Yael, Dustin, and Melissa show what it's like to be a Puppies Behind Bars volunteer!

Please note the following considerations:

  • We ask for a one (1) year commitment. It is important that our prospective volunteers understand that this is a serious commitment to a challenging and, at times, exhausting volunteer program. Since training you and organizing your visits with each prison are quite involved, we ask that you commit to volunteering for us once a month for the next year. If you find you love it and have more time, we would be thrilled if you wanted to volunteer more than once a month! But, if you do not maintain the monthly commitment, we are sorry, but we will have to make you inactive. We need to be strict with this guideline, so please take this into consideration before committing to the program.

 

  • Attend two required four-hour training sessions. Training sessions are held on a Saturday morning, from 11am to 3:00pm. New York City volunteers train at our midtown office; all other New York State volunteers train in Millerton, New York. New Jersey volunteers train in Clinton, New Jersey. At the training, volunteers will learn more about handling the dogs, about the supplies needed, what commands the puppies know, and how to read a dog’s body language, among other valuable tips.
  • Please note that we do not have a pre-set schedule of upcoming training sessions for the year; trainings are scheduled as needed to train more volunteers to provide socialization outings for our pups. It may take a month or a few months before we announce the next training session.
  • Volunteers must take a puppy out within 30 days of being trained, as a safety measure for volunteers and our dogs. Puppies must be taken out once per month (for overnight sitters) or twice a month (for day sitters) for one year, in order to remain an active volunteer.
  • Volunteering as a puppy sitter involves a big commitment and can be challenging, but it is also extremely rewarding!
  • Thanks to all our prospective volunteers for your interest and willingness to participate.

Make a Donation

Puppies Behind Bars is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, tax I.D. #13-3969389, and donations are tax-exempt to the extent allowed by law.

You may make a one-time donation in any amount you wish, or sign up for recurring gifts on a schedule that works for you.

For gifts in honor or in memory of someone:

If your donation is made in someone’s memory or honor, we will send a card to the designated recipient(s) acknowledging your generous donation on their behalf.

Please include the recipient’s mailing address on the online form. You can view an example of one of our cards here.

Prefer to donate a different way?

PBB offers many ways for you support our mission, including by phone and mail, and with memorial and matching gifts.

Click here to find one that works for you!