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Oklahoma State University

The Dogs of Lincoln

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Dogs of Lincoln

The Dogs of Lincoln: First Class Graduates

This spring students and faculty at OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, the Humane Society of Stillwater, the Cimarron Valley Humane Society, and the students and faculty at Lincoln Academy collaborated to launch a pilot program called “The Dogs of Lincoln.”  On April 30, the first class of dogs graduated from the program.

“Dogs in need of a forever home are placed in Lincoln Academy classrooms during the week,” explained Elisabeth Giedt, DVM, director of continuing education, extension and community outreach at the veterinary center. “Each classroom is assigned one dog and those students and teacher care for it Monday through Friday. The idea is to teach the dogs basic commands using positive reinforcement training to make them more adoptable.”

OSU’s veterinary students share their knowledge of dog training and animal behavior with the Lincoln Academy students and faculty. They also explain the importance of good animal care.

Pictured above are photos of all of the dog graduates along with some tasty treats to help the students, faculty and program partners celebrate this milestone.

“The hope is that the students at Lincoln recognize the important role they play in the dog’s life.  Having the responsibility of caring for the dogs and the opportunity to train the dogs is a great experience for the students and many bonded with their dog,” added Giedt.

All dogs in the program were spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and dewormed by the veterinary students. They also provided external parasite control to make sure the animals were healthy. The dogs were provided by the Cimarron Valley Humane Society. Funding sources for the pilot program included the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV), Humane Society of Stillwater, and the OSU Student Chapter of the ASV.

As everyone involved in the program gathered for a brief graduation ceremony complete with a certificate for each dog, here are some of the comments from the teachers and students who participated:

Rusty was scared of everything and now he isn’t scared; he came out of his shell. Moxie was a fast learner. Sophia likes to sit on people’s laps and is a great jumper no matter how big the barrier. Cora is so sweet and a real cuddle buddy.

Bentley is ready for graduation.

Rusty is getting some extra loving' from one of his caretakers at Lincoln Academy.

Cora is sporting a very stylish graduation cap!

Representing the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences were faculty mentor and program initiator, Lesa Staubus, DVM, assistant professor of Shelter Medicine and Surgery at OSU's Veterinary Medical Hospital, Arlynn Pulido, Devin Carney, Kristen Stukey, and dog trainer Alyssa Cable, all with the class of 2016, Sarah Hazel, Ashley Chandler, Taylor Rolland and Erin Farrell with the class of 2017 and Cori Jo Fegel with the class of 2018.

“Since many of these dogs came from abusive environments, it was great to see their personalities change over the weeks,” said Lesa Staubus, DVM, assistant professor of shelter medicine and surgery and the program initiator. “I think it was a win-win situation for everyone. The students took great responsibility for the dogs even teaching them some tricks in addition to basic commands like sit, stay, and heel. Since the pilot was such a success, we hope to continue the program in the fall. It helps improve the dogs’ socialization skills making them more adoptable and one step closer to finding a forever home.”

If you are looking for a family pet, consider visiting your local animal shelter. 

Contact: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences | 405-744-6740 |

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