This year I have been given the opportunity that many of my peers wish for – I have a puppy! This puppy is not solely mine but is a service dog that I am training. My dog’s name is Teetime, and she can be seen running around the Quad or going for walks around campus. Teetime is a 10-week-old black lab from ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities). Their objective is to give Teetime to a veteran with PTSD returning from Afghanistan. Teetime will accompany this person everywhere they go, providing them with a feeling of comfort as they try to get reaccustomed to their lives. At only 10 weeks, she is well on her way to being the supportive service dog that will be required of her.
Even though Teetime’s genes are made for the job, my schedule and life had to be pivoted to meet the needs of my new puppy. My day consists of waking up at six in the morning and taking her out to the bathroom, followed by feeding her breakfast. When I go to class, I have to give her to one of her uncles (a fraternity brother) to take care of her for the time being. After the school day is done, Teetime can go wherever I go. It is important for me to take her to as many new environments as possible to get her ready for her job. Last week, we went golfing at Green Meadows together, and although her name is Teetime, that was not one of her favorite activities.
Going into my senior year, I knew that I had a relatively easy schedule, and I would need to fill my time with a job of some kind. I unknowingly signed up for this job when I asked my roommate, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could rent a puppy?” Days later, after passing background checks and doing interviews our dog was being flown down to Grove City. I have learned a lot so far being a dog dad and a student at the same time. I am not just aligning my own eating, studying, and working out schedule, but I need to make sure I am feeding her at the right time, training her, and getting her exercise in. I have had Teetime now for just under a month, and it has becoming increasingly more difficult to live with the reality that I have to give this dog up. For the next five months I will be continuing this training with her on campus and at home. When it is finally time to say goodbye, I will bring her to a ceremony where I will get to meet her new owner, and tell them how much of a good girl she is.