All of you have probably seen many of our furry friends on campus. But some of you might not know why these amazing creatures have joined our community.
Many of the dogs on campus are here because of a wonderful program called 4 Paws. 4 Paws is a program that trains dogs to become service animals for children with disabilities. Students at Wittenberg have the opportunity to help with this amazing organization.
For one semester, two students take on the responsibility to socialize the dog while it’s young. This process helps the animal build social skills that are invaluable to helping their owners.
This week, our spotlight is on Speedy the golden retriever, and his trainers Alyssa Lane, ’17, and Brian Carman, ‘17. Speedy is a part of the “Speedy Gonzales” litter. He has 3 siblings on campus: a brother aptly named Gonzales, and 2 sisters, Cheetah and Zippy.
Lane is a biology major with minors in health science and music. She is also one of the campus coordinators for 4 Paws. Lane shared a lot of reasons why she wanted to train a 4 Paws dog.
“I’ve always known I wanted to do something with kids. And now that I know I want to go into the medical field, I want to work with kids with disabilities. Through this program I’ve really been able to see what types of disabilities kids do have and how they struggle. But I’ve also seen the amazing benefits that these dogs give them and how they are helping them,” Lane said. Taking on a dog is a lot of responsibility and can’t be done by just one college student, especially with a busy schedule. Alyssa has a co-owner to help tackle the responsibilities of raising a support dog. That’s why she has the help of Carman.
Carman is also majoring in finance and shared a few reasons why he wanted to work with a 4 Paws dog: “I’ve always loved dogs. Leaving my two dogs at home was really hard. And being able to have dog on campus has really been a great experience.”
You can find Speedy throughout campus frolicking in the Hollow, chewing on the fresh mulch outside of the Student Center or being bombarded by students trying to pet him. His favorite treat is as classic as he is: peanut butter. Speedy also knows many tricks such as high five, roll over, sit and lay down. He is currently working on how to play dead.
4 Paws is an amazing program that Wittenberg students can be involved with it. This is just one of the many ways that students at Witt can do something bigger than themselves and truly help the community.