College Seniors Experience the Joy of Fostering Dogs During Their Final Semester

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It was a Tuesday when Meadow Vinz's heart was filled with joy as she officially met her foster dog, Shasta.

As a senior in the Animal Behavior program at Carroll University, Vinz couldn't wait for the opportunity to foster a furry friend and it was this aspect of the curriculum that truly sold her on enrolling at Carroll.

“I’ve always dreamed about fostering a bunch of dogs, and I just didn’t think I’d be able to do it this young, especially in college, and now that it’s here, I’m super excited,” Vinz said.

Training has been good so far.

“She’s very much still a puppy. She’s only about eight months old,” Vinz said. “But, she’s sleeping through the night, she’s going potty pretty well.”

But that's just one more opportunity for Vinz and Shasta to bond and grow together!

“We’re kind of coming into this with her not having a strong repertoire of skills, which I am totally okay with,” Vinz said. “We’ll just start from the beginning!”

Dr. Amanda Lee is a professor in the Animal Behavior program at Carroll University and under her guidance, the program is reaching new heights! Four years ago, when the program first began, a small group of four students embarked on this journey, but now, the program has doubled in size.

While the program is growing, it’s a lot of work, Lee said. But the students are learning a lot.

“With these dogs they’ll learn everything from basic management, to basic skills training, to recalls,” Lee said. “You name it, they do it.”

The Animal Behavior program at Carroll University is not just about learning about dogs, it's also about developing valuable life skills.

Students are gaining a wealth of knowledge on time management and patience, which will serve them well not just in working with their foster dogs but also in their future careers.

“Most of these students want to do something training related, whether that’s dolphins or sea animals or dogs, or you name it,” Lee said.

“They’re learning how to apply those skills in a real world time with assistance from faculty and staff who can help them manage their dogs.”

Meadow Vinz's future is looking brighter than ever, with her plans to pursue a master's in Conservation Biology and work with wildlife. But right now, her focus is on her foster dog, Shasta, and the amazing opportunity to train and handle the foster process.

It's a dream come true for Vinz and she couldn't be more excited. She's even hoping to adopt Shasta herself, but even if that doesn't work out, she'll have the satisfaction of knowing that she had a hand in finding the perfect forever home for her furry friend. It's a win-win situation for everyone!

“It's super important that we, the people who know the dogs best, get to decide what the best home for them will be,” Vinz said. “I think that’s a really great thing.”

We'd love to know your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below.

Original story / article courtesy of Spectrum News 1

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