LOUISVILLE, Ky. — You may see more paws at the University of Louisville, including one 9-month-old pup named Cashew who has become pretty popular on campus. That’s thanks to 4 Paws for Ability, students, including Koby Batts, can take their four-legged friends to class.
“My girlfriend’s talked about it for a long time and I have another friend that has had a couple service dogs through 4 Paws for Ability and it seemed like the right opportunity and it’s been well worth it,” Batts said.
The program breeds, raises and trains service dogs in preparation to assist their owner. UofL even has a club that started back in 2020, dedicated to working with the organization and matching students with the best fit dog.
“It started with one student coming to UofL and kind of knowing about the club and she started to foster a dog and once she fostered the dog shethen decided to create a place for other kids that wanted to foster a dog at the university,” John Swartz, president for 4 Paws for Ability club at UofL said.
Students like Batts, who serves as a secondary handler for Cashew.
“I think it’s something that definitely cheers me up and everyone else around me, kind of takes the stress out of college at times,” Batts said.
Batts helps to train Cashew before he’s evaluated to be a service dog.
The program also pays for all the costs for students, including vaccines, food and other expenses that come up while caring for your foster dog.
“When you’re fostering this dog and it’s going to someone else, how you’re able to find happiness knowing that in the long run it serves a greater purpose than just for you,” Batts said.
A bittersweet feeling saying goodbye but knowing their furry friend is going to someone who needs them more.
“It’s really bittersweet, but just seeing the difference it makes is so amazing,” Swartz said.
The club at UofL ranges anywhere from 3 to 10 dogs on campus but hoped to ramp up the involvement and have 10 to 30 volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, click here.