By Grace Carlo, Staff Writer
While students can find it hard to get along with people who have different political views than themselves, the trainees of 4 Paws for Ability train are easy to get along with.
4 Paws is an organization that trains and socializes service dogs that later go to children and veterans in need. The organization was first introduced to Xavier in 2017 by alumni Shelby Timm (‘19) and Abigail Beekman (‘20) who were both involved with 4 Paws for Ability.
They met on campus with their 4 Paws dogs, Fuji and Beacon, who were brothers, and they agreed to start a chapter for Xavier.
Timm and Beekman met with student involvement, SGA and student housing. They wrote the bylaws and a constitution. They were also in contact with Lynn Agee, the 4 Paws university coordinator and other university programs for assistance in making it happen at Xavier.
Co-President of 4 Paws Dolly Rath said, “In 2018, we only had a couple of members who would show up to the meeting. By 2019, we had one foster and two sitters. Today, we have five sitters and over 25 sitter applicants that should be approved by next semester.”
The program has grown vastly since it started and now has over 300 members on EngageXU.
4 Paws at Xavier frequently partnered with the University of Cincinnati (UC) Chapter. Roth says, “A lot of our sitters watch the UC dogs on campus. UC has many more dogs than Xavier and some UC sitters want their dogs to have an experience of a small campus, so they contact Xavier sitters.”
The dogs will typically spend the day at Xavier and then return to UC at night.
When asked how many puppies are involved in the program at Xavier, Rath said “We have three full time Xavier dogs on campus. Frost is a 10-month-old golden lab from the Marvel Litter. She is with me during the week. Randy Rainbow is a Goldendoodle and is five months old. He is from the Pride 2020 Litter. Asteria is four months old and is a golden lab from the Spacecraft Litter. We also have some regular visitors from UC which are Popcorn and Laguna.”
When asked about her favorite part of 4 Paws, Rath said, “Seeing the community that has come out of it. I have made some of my best friends through the club and it has completely enhanced my Xavier experience.”
However, for Rath, the most stressful thing about 4 Paws is handling the dogs.
“A lot of people are jealous of me because I always have Frost with me, but it can be really stressful. I can’t take her into the caf, so I have to coordinate when I’m getting lunch. If I have a test, I have to find a sitter to watch her.”
There are many ways to get involved with 4 Paws.
Sitters and fosters go through training about an hour north in Xenia. However, if you are unable to be a sitter or foster, you can also be a general member of the club and go to meetings and events.
4 Paws typically hold events twice a month which is open to all students. Roth says, “We really love doing holiday-themed events and getting the dogs dressed up.”
Roth said, students can Find 4 Paws for Ability on EngageXU or follow them on their socials: Instagram (4pawsforXU), Snapchat (xu4paws), and Facebook (XU4Paws).
Make sure to say hi to any of the trainees you see walking around campus.