Date of Award

4-14-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Catherine A. Miller, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Genevieve L. Y. Arnaut, Ph.D., Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Michel Hersen, Ph.D., ABPP

Abstract

This survey study examined the ratio of costs versus benefits for raising guide dog puppies, as well as whether participating in this volunteer program may be considered an altruistic act. One hundred and forty-nine male and female Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. puppy raisers (ages 12 to 69) completed the survey. The survey was constructed with nineteen statements derived from common guide dog puppy raiser testimonials: eleven statements had a positive connotation, three had a neutral connotation, and five had a negative connotation. The survey also obtained information on raiser gender, number of puppies raised, and puppies' success in the program. Participants completed the survey on the internet. Using descriptive statistics, comparison data were then analyzed for the following subgroups: first time versus repeat raisers, children ages 12-17 versus adults 18 and older, and raisers without a history of puppies graduating versus those who have had at least one puppy graduate. Altruism was considered positive for those who rated the statement "I am involved in puppy raising to help others" on a higher scale than the statement "I am involved in puppy raising to have a dog." The results indicated that the benefits outweighed the costs of puppy raising for the vast majority of raisers. This finding was consistent across subgroups. The results also showed a 79% level of altruism within the total number of participants. This study was the first known to quantatively examine the experiences of guide dog puppy raisers.

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