WAUKESHA, Wis. — It was a Tuesday when Meadow Vinz officially met her foster dog, Shasta. Vinz is a senior in the Animal Behavior program at Carroll University. 

What You Need To Know

  • On Tuesday, Jan. 17, nine seniors at Carroll University met the dogs they will be fostering for the rest of the semester

  • The dogs all come from the Waukesha Humane Animal Welfare Society

  • Students will train the dogs, and at the end of the semester, will have the opportunity to adopt them if willing and able

  • If they are unable to adopt, they will be able to select the family who gets to adopt their dog

The fostering aspect of the curriculum is fairly new, but it’s what sold Vinz on enrolling at Carroll. She was excited when the day finally came. 

“I’ve always dreamed about fostering a bunch of dogs, and I just didn’t think I’d be able to do it this young, especially in college, and now that it’s here, I’m super excited,” Vinz said. 

She said training has been good so far.

“She’s very much still a puppy. She’s only about eight months old,” Vinz said. “But, she’s sleeping through the night, she’s going potty pretty well.”

However, that’s something Vinz is still working on with Shasta. 

“We’re kind of coming into this with her not having a strong repertoire of skills, which I am totally okay with,” Vinz said. “We’ll just start from the beginning!”

Dr. Amanda Lee is a professor in Carroll’s Animal Behavior program. When this curriculum started four years ago, there were four students. This semester, there are nine. 

While the program is growing, it’s a lot of work, Lee said. But the students are learning a lot.

“With these dogs they’ll learn everything from basic management, to basic skills training, to recalls,” Lee said. “You name it, they do it.”

Students are also learning about time management and patience. 

Aside from the direct work with the dog, the program helps many of these students with skills they may need in their upcoming careers. 

“Most of these students want to do something training related, whether that’s dolphins or sea animals or dogs, or you name it,” Lee said. “They’re learning how to apply those skills in a real world time with assistance from faculty and staff who can help them manage their dogs.”

Vinz said she plans to go on to grad school for a master’s in Conservation Biology so she can work with wildlife. 

Being able to work with Shasta, train her, and know how to handle the foster process is a dream come true for Vinz. 

She said hopes she can adopt Shasta, and that she doesn’t want to part with her when the semester ends, but students do get to select the family who adopts their pups. 

“It's super important that we, the people who know the dogs best, get to decide what the best home for them will be,” Vinz said. “I think that’s a really great thing.”