The University of Toledo will soon have students of a different variety — the furry, adorable, four-legged kind.
Danielle Tscherne of Toledo, who has a master’s degree in sociology and will finish a second master’s in criminal justice at the university this semester, is leading the organization of a new student group that will partner with Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence of Sylvania to raise and train puppies for service and therapy work.
The puppies will live full time with group members for a year or more to grow up while being thoroughly socialized and trained in obedience and how to behave in public.
“The students will be doing the majority of the training for a while,” Ms. Tscherne said. “Then they’ll go back to ADAI for more intensive training.”
Rocket Service Dogs will be modeled after a similar group at the University of Kentucky. Wildcat Service Dogs formed in 2011, and has partnered with the assistance dogs group for several years.
“It’s basically a service organization,” said Kimberley Arnett, director of community services for the assistance dogs group. “It has been very successful. We’ve had five dogs come from them that are either in the process of or have graduated as service dogs.”
The student groups are extensions of the assistance dog group’s network of foster homes for dogs that will go on to become service or therapy dogs for people with disabilities. More fosters means more canines can be provided to those who need them.
“We are always in need of fosters,” Mrs. Arnett said. “It’s definitely a big commitment.”
The fledgling group at UT will spend the spring and summer semesters organizing, recruiting, and training students to become puppy sitters and dog…