PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Three of the newest students on the University of Pittsburgh campus aren’t your typical college kids.
Iverson, Kaptain and Koji have fur, four paws, wet noses and wagging tails.
They may be the cutest college students ever, but their purpose in life is so much bigger.
Like Pittsburgh Today Live puppy Penguin, these three pups are training to a service dogs for Canine Companions for Independence.
Their handlers are students at Pitt, who make up the Panthers’ Service Pups group.
Iverson is being raised by Caroline Cox, Kaptain is growing up with Nicole Mroz and Katie Carr and Koji is being cared for and trained by Yasemin Sonel and Tina Gargano.
“I raised Luna, and she was placed, and so, Tina, who also co-raised one of the dogs that was placed, we wanted another puppy in our lives, so we just had to raise again,” Sonel said. “We teamed up to help ourselves as students with the time and expenses that go with raising these dogs.”
The students say they’ve always been animal lovers and love to give back to the community.
“I’ve always loved dogs since I was little and I love helping people, so I think it’s a really great combination of both,” Cox said. “It’s a really great community and everyone is so helpful, and it’s amazing to see what these dogs can do when they grow up.”
The puppies are on the same track as Penguin.
They will eventually go back to Canine Companions’ northcentral region center for matriculation, intensive training, and finally pairing with someone in need.
Until the leash handoff though, they are bringing lots of joy to the Pitt campus.
And the young woman say they are getting much support from the other Canine Companions puppy raisers in Pittsburgh.
“There was already this small group of really awesome, dedicated Pittsburgh Canine Companions people and they were really excited to welcome more to the Pittsburgh area group, so it’s been so awesome to bring that to campus,” Mroz said.
To follow the adventures of the Panthers’ Service Pups, visit their Facebook page here. And to see more on Penguin, visit his Facebook page at this link.