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Graduation goes to the dogs

May 1, 2016 Tags: Academics , Arts and Humanities

For the second year in a row, students at Saint Francis University trained and conditioned dogs from the Central PA Humane Society and found them loving families and forever homes.

Three different dogs, one goal

Psych Dogs_2016_1InText

This year, Saint Francis University welcomed three dogs—Neeko, Jango and Akira—to campus through the help of Central PA Humane Society member and trainer Megan Sanchez.

Akira was the youngest, shyest of the three. A puppy with a lot of love to give, Akira was a six-month-old female dog. Neeko was a fun-loving, full-of-energy, three-year-old female dog, and Jango was a very relaxed and loveable four-year-old male dog. 

Learning at a University

Psych Dogs_2016_2InTextOnce the dogs arrived on campus, students in the Spring 2016 semester’s Canine Learning course were excited to begin fostering them, teaching them, and learning with them.

Dr. Shlomit Flaisher-Grinberg, assistant professor of Psychology, taught the Canine Learning course along with Sanchez, who in addition to her work with the Central PA Humane Society is a Blair Canine Coaching adjunct instructor. Flaisher-Grinberg and Sanchez taught the students science-based training methods and the various learning processes of dogs.

Over the course of the semester, students took their new-found knowledge and trained the dogs, while Flaisher-Grinberg and Sanchez lent guiding hands.

A graduation celebration

Psych Dogs_2016_3InTextAt the end of the semester, the students’ understanding and learning was evident in the dogs’ behavior and training. The dogs learned to sit, dance, spin, play dead, and even do yoga.

Celebrating their success, the students, teachers, and other University members hosted and attended a graduation ceremony for the dogs. The dogs received tags with their graduation year and name, to be worn on their collars, and they enjoyed a slice of dog liver cake, glazed with an organic honey and peanut butter icing.

See more pictures from graduation

A place to call home

Psych Dogs_2016_5InTextAfter graduation, the dogs joined their new families, ending one journey and beginning a new one because of the students.

The students, on the other hand, finished their semester and headed home with an abundance of knowledge and memories. 

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