Moving out to Colorado for school has been one of the best choices I could have made, not just because Colorado is a gorgeous state, but because the opportunities have been unlike those I’ve ever found. Here at DU we have the Animal Assisted Social Work certificate that you can pursue during your second year, which I am now doing and interviewing for internships where I would be able to use animals in a clinical setting. One of the ways that I will be able to do that is to be be placed with a therapy dog that I will train and become it’s handler through an organization here in Denver called Freedom Service Dogs. You can check out there website here: http://www.freedomservicedogs.org/, where you can see that this group trains service dogs and dogs for veterans, as well as therapy dogs for the dogs that do not qualify to be a service dogs (if they wouldn’t be strong enough to help balance someone for example). Each dog is a rescue dog, which means that they save an animal life which will then help “save” a human life.
Since the Animal Assisted Social Work program at DU has such strong connections with agencies like Freedom Service Dogs, there is actually a grant that supports DU students being placed with a dog and trained through Freedom Service Dogs for free, and students can then also use their dogs in the classroom. I have not been placed with a dog yet, but I’ve started the application process and am eagerly awaiting the news of who my new 4 legged friend will be! Just another example of the amazing opportunities here at GSSW!