This fall, while some of our dogs have become Gophers, others are now Falcons. Our FETCH (Fostering Education Through Campus Hosting) Program has expanded from the University of Minnesota to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.Ten Can Do Canines, ages 9-18 months, crossed the border to be paired with 22 students for the fall semester.
Dr. Chris Hergenrader, Assistant Professor of Animal Science at UW-River Falls, oversees the program for the university. Chris stated, “We want to provide a hands-on experiential learning opportunity for students in a way that helps them, the dogs, and the greater community.”
The dogs and students are living together in dorm rooms and attending group training sessions with Can Do Canines Lead Trainer Emily Hedenland. The program at UW-River Falls also involves courses focused on service dog training, with a curriculum aligning with professional dog training certification. Although many student handlers are animal science majors, this is not a requirement.
What is a requirement is a love for dogs, which is certainly being reciprocated.