Becker College teaming up with NEADS to help train service dogs
Published on: August 13, 2019
Becker College’s School of Animal Studies and Natural Sciences is offering a new way for students to gain valuable skills while also helping to improve the lives of those with disabilities. Through a partnership with NEADS World Class Service Dogs, Becker is providing care and basic obedience training for puppies on their journey to become official service dogs.
NEADS is a nationally recognized and accredited service dog organization based in Princeton, MA, that specializes in the raising, training, and matching of World Class Service Dogs to their clients with disabilities.
“NEADS approached Becker College with this new opportunity, and the timing was perfectly aligned with The Best Club (Becker’s Education through Service-Dog Training Club) that was recently formed,” said Jessica Carreira, the Best Club advisor and kennel manager at Becker College Veterinary Clinic, at the Lenfest Animal Health Center.
Becker students involved in the program were each assigned a puppy when it was just 2 months old, and will work with it for approximately 1-1 ½ years. During that time frame, the student will teach the puppy basic commands such as sit, stay, down, fetch, and more.
“Students gain awareness of the training involved with raising a service dog as well as the importance of socializing the puppy to prepare them for their formal training,” Carreira said. “They also acquire insight into the importance of service dogs to the community and develop empathy for both humans and animals.”
Carreira expects the program will grow significantly over the next couple of years. She noted that several more students have already expressed an interest in the training club. While it may be a while before the next cycle of puppies enter the program, students also have an opportunity to be involved as puppy sitters.
“Who can resist such adorable Labrador Retriever puppies,” Carreira said.