Serving Others, Paws First
August 5, 2013   //   By:   //   Real-world Learning, Service
baretta, a pit bull, in front of New Life sign

Baretta, at work

Amanda Dluzneski ’14 has found her calling. The senior Occupational Therapy major isn’t your average student. You will often find Amanda around campus with her two dogs in tow, Shiloh and Baretta.

In 2011, Amanda rescued Shiloh, a lab mix. She and her family fostered him before officially adopting him. After learning of his sweet temperament, Amanda decided to get Shiloh certified as a therapy dog. Going through Comfort Caring Canines, Shiloh became a certified therapy dog. Then, in 2013, Amanda adopted Baretta, a pit bull mix. Through the process of her training, she noticed that Baretta was more comfortable around younger people whereas Shiloh did better with an older crowd. This led Amanda seek out an internship for herself–and Baretta–working with troubled youth.

Amanda and Baretta have spent this past summer working with the troubled youth at New Life Services in Schwenksville, Pa. When asked about if the dogs act differently at work than they do while they’re ‘off duty’ Amanda had this to say – “When the vest goes on, they get this look. They are calm and focused. They know that they have a job to do. Baretta has this sense of who needs help. It’s really amazing.”

They know they have a job to do

What initially had started as research has turned into a calling. Amanda plans to continue with animal therapy after graduation. She hopes to be able to work with horses as part of  therapy. Amanda, Baretta, and Shiloh are walking examples of the motto Educate for Service.

About the Author :

Cassie Meade is a 2014 graduate of Elizabethtown College.

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