It’s no secret that school life can be a bit overwhelming and stressful. Students often juggle academics, orgs and other extra-curricular activities while at school and it is definitely not a walk in the park.
Here in the Philippines, some schools like the University of the Philippines – Diliman in Quezon City, often have friendly visitors at that of furry dogs who offer their bellies for a rub or their paws for an “arf-pir” – a simple gesture from the school to give them some motivation.
However, one university in the United States of America took this dog-human relationship to a whole new level.
Rutgers University in New Jersey pairs guide dogs-in-training with their college students.
The Rutgers University Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club (RUSEPRC) usually hosts 10 to 25 students to take on the responsibility of fostering puppies, who goes through its preliminary stages of training. The dogs came from The Seeing Eye, which is the oldest guide dog school in America.
The Seeing Eye is known for training hundreds of seeing eye dogs for the blind every year.
“Being a student in the business school, I spend a lot of my time studying for classes like accounting or statistics… very dry and boring,” Ethan Saul, a 20-year old business major told Good News Network. “Being able to see a dog on campus, let alone being able to live with one, is amazing! It really relieves a lot of stress for us.”
While students are gifted with the insurmountable amount of love and affection by their dogs, they too are devoted into making sure that their dogs are socialized. As part of the dogs’ training, the students are also asked to expose their pups to different sights, smells, and experiences.
“We never know what type of person they will guide or in what kind of environment they will guide in. They may guide a retired man living in Florida or maybe a young woman with kids teaching at a college in a big city. The possibilities are endless!” Emily Cruz, RUSEPRC president, told GNN. “Therefore, we make sure to expose them to many different people, places, sights, sounds, environments, and experiences to ensure that they are the most confident guide dog in every and any situation.”
The club has proudly raised more than 200 guide dogs. A lot of the students have been grateful for the experience and shared how life-changing the program has been for their college journey.
“While we teach puppies a lot, they teach us so much in return,” Cruz added. “I know that I wouldn’t be myself if it wasn’t for this program.”
“It might not be easy to give [the dogs] back up, but knowing that they are doing bigger things in the world and knowing that you played a part in that swells everyone involved with pride,” she said.
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