Training Canine Good Citizen Dogs at Gould

December 14, 2020
Leah Ohms ’21 with Tripper, and Denise Manning with Marshall, prepare for the Canine Good Citizen test
Leah Ohms ’21 with Tripper and Denise Manning with Marshall, prepare for the Canine Good Citizen test

The Healing Power of Therapy Dogs

When senior Leah Ohms was reviewing the campus COVID protocols, she had one question: “Will I still be able to hug Mookie?” Lucky for her, Gould’s COVID guidelines allow for dog hugs, and Leah attests that “a hug from a friendly dog can go a long way.”

This insight spurred a collaboration between the Dean of Students Denise Manning, Director of Advising and Wellness Katie Stack, and Director of Innovation Sara Whalen-Shifrin ’88.

Denise and Sara get the dogs ready for the Canine Good Citizens test
Sara Whalen Shifrin ’88 looks on as Denise helps the dogs get acquainted.

Expanding the Pack – Training Canine Good Citizens

As the campus therapy dog, Mookie can get busy, and they began wondering how to bring more dogs safely into community spaces. The idea of starting a Canine Good Citizen program became a reality when Jill Simmons ’86, owner of PoeticGold Farm, offered to support the program, be a resource for dogs in training, and test any campus dog.

As part of the program, dog owners invite students to help with training.

Leah Ohms ’21 has developed a sweet spot for Tripper, the Shifrin’s 6-month Goldendoodle. Leah is developing her relationship with Tripper beyond having fun and toward developing Tripper’s skill to give a friendly hug to more students on campus.

The Mannings are excited to report that Marshall, their newest golden retriever, recently passed his Canine Good Citizen test and is on the path to becoming a certified therapy dog. While nothing is formal yet for Tripper, it’s safe to say that Gould students won’t experience a shortage of canine cuddles anytime soon.

“I am motivated to help with this program because I do love dogs, and I like helping others. Helping train Tripper is a win-win.”


Wish there were therapy dogs in your school?


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