Puppy at University of Central Florida to get degree

UCF partners with Canine Companions for Independence

ORLANDO, Fla. – There is a new student enrolled at the University of Central Florida this semester. She might be young and even a bit furry, but that isn't stopping the pup from working toward her own very special degree.

The puppy, 5-month-old Robin, is the first assistance dog in training living on the UCF campus. It's all part of a new partnership UCF has with Canine Companions for Independence.

Robin's roommate and student trainer is sophomore Morgan Bell, who will volunteer her time over the next year training Robin on over 30 commands and basic obedient skills, including walking on a leash and behaving in public.

Bell explained the first time she saw Robin.

"She was just this sleepy little nugget," Bell said. "Like, she was in her kennel and all curled up. It was love at first sight."

Bell rattled off the commands Robin knows?.

"So far she knows her name, down, sit, dress, kennel," Bell said.

The dynamic duo will be seen around campus as Robin learns to socialize in different environments. It can include meeting strangers, attending classes and other social situations, giving her the opportunity to experience the real world around her.

"We raise assistant dogs to individuals with developmental disabilities or other injuries," said LeAnn Sieffereman, Canine Companion's Puppy Program manager.

So the duo will have to part ways eventually, as Robin will move on to care and support someone in need.

?"Just thinking she is going to go and help someone else is, she's given me, and I want her to give that to someone, too," Bell said. ?

Robin will stay at UCF for another year before she graduates to her master's degree and then hopefully finds a match.

About the Author: