Freshman Trains Future Service Dog


Casey Rojas, Contributor

Students may have seen a student with a dog on campus, which is normally not allowed. However, Lauren Twisselmann, a freshman, is donating her time to train a service dog in order to help those in need. She is actively training her on campus this year. I was able to interview her in order to allow Lancers to know more about this experience.

Reporter Casey Rojas: What turned you towards training seeing eye dogs?

Lauren Twisselmann: At first I pushed the idea away, but a girl at my church was doing it. I started asking her questions and she introduced me to Guide Dogs of America.

C: Is this your first dog training?

L: Yes.

C: Is it a boy or a girl?

L: It’s a girl.

C:  What’s her name?

L: Her name is Yonder, short for Over Yonder.

C: How old is Yonder?

L: She is 6 months now; we have had her since she was 8 weeks.

C: How long does training take?

L: She stays around a year and a half with us. She learns basic commands and how to behave well in public, that kind of thing, but the actual guide dog work lasts around two years, I want to say. After that we take her back to Guide Dogs of America and they train her with a visually impaired person to guide someone.

C: What are some of your favorite things about training Yonder?

L: I think my favorite thing is seeing how she progresses like when she has a behavior problem and she all of a sudden gets it. It is my favorite because you really see when she progresses.

C: Do you have any funny stories about while you were training Yonder?

L: One time she peed in the library. I had to rush her out pretty fast and my mom was a little mad about cleaning it up.

C: Are there any other things that you do with her?

L: She goes to puppy raising meetings about once a month to get exposed to other dogs there.

C: Is there anything else to tell the readers about Yonder?

L: Well, some people think you can’t pet her at all and others think you can pet her all the time, but you just have to ask me first and a lot of the times I’ll say yes–during passing period.