East Bay Chapter

Northwest Region

Get to know Dave and Digby

August 12, 2016

Recently Puppy Raiser Dave Lasker received the phone call we all hope to receive; he learned that his dog Digby would be going into team training and changing another person’s life forever. We asked him a few questions about his involvement with CCI and the experience of seeing his puppy graduate.

Why do you raise puppies for Canine Companions?
My wife and I are good friends with a CCI graduate, and I fell in love with her service dog. When I retired in 2009, I was looking for something to keep me busy, and puppy raising seemed to be the ideal activity.

When did you know that Digby was destined to be a service dog?
Digby was my fourth puppy. Right away we saw he was much calmer and more obedient than the previous three. Digby was better behaved at age four months than the previous puppies were at turn in. Digby was always extremely serious and focused when working, but also loved to play hard and enthusiastically.

How many puppies have you raised?
I am currently raising my 5th puppy Charm.

What is your favorite part about raising CCI puppies?
I love teaching commands and appropriate behavior. The puppies are extremely smart, so I get a lot of positive feedback seeing them learn so fast. The first time a puppy obeys a new command using my voice only (no treats or hand gestures), it is an amazing feeling.

Describe your most challenging moment as a puppy raiser.
Raising my first puppy was a bit stressful at first. She didn't sleep through the night for the first month. I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. The puppy could read my mental state, which made managing her even harder.

If you were to give advice to a first time puppy raiser, what would it be?
Keep calm!

What is your most memorable Puppy Raiser moment?
Without a doubt, handing Digby's leash over to his new graduate Maria. My first 3 puppies were released, so having my 4th puppy Digby graduate made it that much better.

What is something your fellow East Bay Miracles might not know about you?
When I was working, I was Software Engineering Manager. Towards the end of my career, I gave up management and became a contract software developer. My final contract was with PayPal. So if you have ever sent money with PayPal, you have used some code that I wrote.