This semester, ASU students are teaching 11 dogs to become service animals.

Raising these puppies to be service dogs is hard but rewarding for ASU students.

It's a tail of 10 ASU students, 11 dogs working together to help others.

September 13, 2016

Students in Sparky's Service Dogs club perform

24/7 task, raising puppies to help people with

disabilities such as PTSD

They’re the coolest ones on campus, and — even though they
sleep through class — they’ll get to graduate in only two years.

Then, thanks to the dedication of a group of Arizona State
University students, Sparky’s Service Dogs will spend the rest
of their lives helping people in need.

This semester, 11 Labrador and golden retriever puppies are
learning how to become assistance animals for people with
diabetes, mobility issues or post-traumatic stress disorder.
They’re being raised by 10 students, who are members of
Sparky’s Service Dogs, a campus club.

“When we started this, we decided we really wanted to create
a community on campus for these raisers,” said Taylor Randle,
the president and one of the founders of the club, which, besides
the raisers, includes more than 100 members who serve as
“puppy sitters,” handlers and all-around helpers.

“We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort, and it does
take a village to raise a dog. It’s not just one person so we really
support each other.”

Taylor Randle is president of Sparkys Service Dogs and is raising
Kristoff, a black Lab, who will move on to specialized training
next spring. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Randle, a senior kinesiology major, was attending the Passport to
ASU beginning-of-semester event two years ago when she saw
two golden retriever puppies at one of the club booths. The
Scottsdale-based nonprofit Power Paws Assistance Dogs was
looking to get ASU students interested in starting a club.

Randle and some friends immediately decided to launch Sparky’s
Service Dogs. It started with just a few raisers, including Randle,
who took on Kristoff, a black Lab.

The club partners with Power Paws, which breeds the puppies and
provides the raisersFor now, the number of raisers is capped at 10.
More raisers will be needed next year. and their animals with dog
food, gear and basic veterinary care.

Kaleia Kramer, a senior majoring in biomedical engineering, plays
with Uschi, the 6-month-old golden retriever she is raising for
Sparky's Service Dogs.

For raisers, the job is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The dogs
go everywhere with the students — to class, to the grocery store,
on the bus. ASU’s housing department gives permission for the
dogs to live in the dorms on a case-by-case basis, and three of the
current service puppies have been dorm dwellers.

Emily Hopkins, a junior criminal justice major, lived in the dorms
with her dog, Quantico, a 73-pound black Lab.