Walking Whit

Paige Price

Staff Reporter

Photo By Ellie Bissell

Photo By Ellie Bissell

Seven people, hours of work, one dog, one goal. Canine Companions for Independence, or CCI, is a club at McDaniel that is focused on training a dog to become a service dog.

They are currently training Whit, who is a black lab and golden retriever mix. Whit is 11 months old and very willing to learn. In order to become a service dog, Whit has to accomplish several commands. These commands include responding to their name, hurry, sit, let’s go, kennel, wait, and shake.

There is one command, however, that Whit has yet to master: Barking. According to Abigail Vickers, the president of CCI, the first time Whit barked, he scared himself!

There are four different types of companion dogs: The service dog, facility dog, skilled companion dog, and the hearing dog. Because of Whit’s lovable personality, Vickers thinks that he would be a great companion dog.

“He loves to cuddle and has a laid back character,” said Vickers. He would also be an outstanding service dog because of his size. Along with his docile personality, he has a quirky obsession with squeaky toys.

When raising an animal, especially a service dog, routine schedules are key. Whit is in his crate for no longer than an hour and a half per day, which means he is constantly interacting with the people in the house and around campus. Living in the CCI house, located at 127 Pennsylvania Avenue, takes responsibility. Good communication skills are also a crucial qualification.

For those interested in becoming part of CCI or seeing what it is all about, meetings are held Mondays at 7 p.m. The club holds fun events like Halloween parties and partakes in fundraisers throughout the year.

Anyone would like to take Whit for a walk must first meet the members of CCI for safety purposes and be approved. But gentleman beware, Whit is not a tool for picking up the ladies!

McDaniel is lucky to have a group of individuals who take time out of their busy schedules to help train a dog to be a companion for a person in need.

Whit will be one year old next month and he deserves to know what a great job he is doing. Next time Whit is seen around campus, be sure to stop and give him a pat on the back.

Keeping Up With Kaya

Kaya, the white Labrador mix that lived in the CCI house last year, has graduated from being a “puppy-in-training” to a hearing dog. Where she is living is not known, but what we do know is that she is making wonders happen everyday.