Students in Sparky's Service Dogs club perform 24/7 task, raising puppies to help people with disabilities such as PTSD
They’re the coolest ones on campus, and — even though they sleep through class — they’ll get to graduate in only two years.
Then, thanks to the dedication of a group of Arizona State University students, Sparky’s Service Dogs will spend the rest of their lives helping people in need.
This semester, 11 Labrador and golden retriever puppies are learning how to become assistance animals for people with diabetes, mobility issues or post-traumatic stress disorder. They’re being raised by 10 students, who are members of Sparky’s Service Dogs, a campus club.
“When we started this, we decided we really wanted to create a community on campus for these raisers,” said Taylor Randle, the president and one of the founders of the club, which, besides the raisers, includes more than 100 members who serve as “puppy sitters,” handlers and all-around helpers.
“We understand that it takes a lot of time and effort, and it does take a village to raise a dog. It’s not just one person so we really support each other.”
Randle, a senior kinesiology major, was attending the Passport to ASU beginning-of-semester event two years ago when she saw two golden retriever puppies at one of the club booths. The Scottsdale-based nonprofit Power Paws Assistance Dogs was looking to get ASU students interested in starting a club.
Randle and some friends immediately decided to launch Sparky’s Service Dogs. It started with just a few raisers, including Randle, who took on Kristoff, a black Lab. The club partners with Power Paws, which breeds the puppies and provides the raisersFor now, the number of raisers is capped at 10. More raisers will be needed next year. and their animals with dog food, gear and basic veterinary care.