MU ROTC students help train service dogs

The University of Missouri ROTC collaborated with the nonprofit Retrieving Freedom to prepare service dogs to help military veterans and people with autism.

October 9, 2020 


Brian Consiglio: Ever wonder how service dogs are able to stay so focused? University of Missouri ROTC members will tell you; the answer is a lot of hard work.  The MU ROTC program is collaborating with a Missouri nonprofit organization, Retrieving Freedom to train service dogs and prepare them to help military veterans and people with autism.

Several MU ROTC students volunteered to help train the dogs. Once the dogs were matched up with a partner, the students began the process of turning them into fully trained service animals. Senior communications major Kylie Schatmeyer is a handler in the program.

Schatmeyer: “My favorite part would be working with the people within the program. It’s pretty cool. It kind of gives us a commonality besides ROTC to see the other underclassman here working with the dogs. So, that’s been really fun. But the other thing is just having a dog. I love dogs, so it’s been really nice to have him here as a companion.”

Consiglio: And now, after only three weeks, the participants already feel like they’re making a difference. Freshman nursing major Travis Akin is a handler as well. He says he has experience dealing with some of the issues the dogs are being trained to help with.

Akin: “It’s awesome. I’m actually prior service, so over there in the Middle East, I’ve seen people who have struggled with PTSD and other disabilities. So seeing something like this and being involved in training the dogs is an awesome experience.”

Consiglio: I’m Brian Consiglio, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

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