Sashais a lab-mix that serves as the Honors College therapy dog. Dr. Jean Meade of the Hearts of Gold program ( http://humanimalbond.org/heartsofgold/) identified Sasha as a potential therapy dog from a shelter in Richmond, VA. Dr. Blemings picked up Sasha in January 2016 and enrolled her in the Service Dog Training class (A&VS 276) taught in the Davis College at WVU.
How She Became a Service Dog
In the class, WVU students learn to train service and therapy dogs. The class is overseen by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Lindsay Parenti. Sasha attended class 3 to 4 times per week during the Spring 2016 semester. She was trained basic obedience commands, such as stay and come. She was also trained advanced commands, such as turning on lights and opening doors. She passed her Canine Good Citizen test in July 2016 and has served as the Honors College therapy dog since that time.
Service Dogs vs Therapy Dogs
Therapy dogs wear blue vests and provide emotional support. It is appropriate to interact with therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are different from service dogs. Service dogs wear red vests. Service dogs are working dogs and are generally not handled by people other than their handlers. Please do not distract service dogs. Feel free to pet and interact with Sasha and other therapy dogs (blue capes) on campus - You will see Sasha at Honors College events and in places where Honors College students live. If you see a dog in a red cape, please ignore them.