Application to enroll/foster/train a service dog must be made prior to the beginning of the semester to Sarah Meikle, Director, Diggity Dogs Service Dogs (Email: sarah [at] indogswetrust.org; Website: https://indogswetrust.org/foster/). Students and their roommates attend an orientation session and must be approved by the director prior to their enrollment in the class by the VASCI department. A two semester commitment for enrollment in the class is requested. Alternatively, students can apply to be relief fosters or do internships.
Weekly training logs and classes, monthly progress reports, weekly two-hour classroom training and monthly individual classroom assessments at the training facility in Greenfield, MA, are required. Students must provide their own transportation to the training center in Greenfield. Dogs live with the student fosters, and students provide food. Other expenses such as veterinary care are covered by Diggity Dogs Service Dogs.
Course instructor, Dr. Telfer will coordinate enrollment of approved fosterers in the class with the director of Diggity Dogs Service Dogs, Sarah Meikle. This class is designed to provide students with an understanding of canine communication, health, handling and development and hands-on experience in training psychiatric, medical assist/alert, and mobility assistance service dogs. Diggity Dogs contracts with a breeder who provides dogs to be trained; when you enroll you will be assigned a dog. This course requires a serious commitment of time and effort that involves fostering and training a dog. Fostering entails that the dog lives with you, you are responsible for feeding, training and care, and that the dog accompanies you to most, but not necessarily all, of the places you go. Diggity Dogs will work with you to provide respite care as necessary (i.e. exam periods). Because these dogs are service dogs in training, they can legally live in the dorms and go places that other dogs are banned from going.
Instructor consent required