Humans of BluePath: Samantha Okazaki, Puppy Raiser

Sam and Binny at Joshua Tree National Park

Future service dog Binny has had many adventures with her puppy raiser and best friend, Samantha. Sam is a Brooklyn-based photographer with a passion for travel. While Sam has been a foster for over 40 rescue dogs, this is her first time as a puppy raiser.

Binny has joined Sam and her boyfriend Andrew on exciting socialization outings; the Golden retriever pup has attended Broadway shows, flown on airplanes and she’s a pro at riding the subway. Sam always enjoys educating people about Binny’s future role as an autism service dog.

Puppy raising during COVID is a challenge but the couple finds creative ways to keep Binny engaged and to help her build confidence. They’ve loved watching her grow, noting that she has a love of the world and a zest for learning new things.

This August, Binny accompanied Sam and Andrew to Northern Lake Tahoe. They then rented a colorful camper van and road-tripped home, visiting numerous national parks and monuments along the way.

“Knowing that she has this dedicated purpose that she is going to help a child exponentially has been so emotionally rewarding. It has made all of the little challenges of puppy raising worth it to know that she is going to go off and do bigger, better and amazing things. Saying goodbye to such an amazing dog is going to be incredibly difficult, but we just keep thinking the light at the end of the tunnel is that she is going to change someone\’s life.”


Be prepared to dedicate time to it, be patient, have fun, and enjoy the ride!

Binny at Grand Tetons

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