Stephanie Kerrigan takes her Seeing Eye dog-to-be, Harrison, shopping at the mall. She takes him to sporting events, and to friends' houses. The biggest challenge, the Rowan University junior said, is taking him to class.
"He tends to snore . . . and he's loud," said Kerrigan, a psychology major. "I don't take him to exams because I don't want his snoring to distract the other students."
At college campuses nationwide, students are taking on more than a full load of classes and part-time jobs. As part of programs at schools such as Rowan, Ithaca College, Rutgers University, and the University of Delaware, 2-month-old puppies are placed full-time with seeing students for as long as 15 months. Afterward, the pups will head off to guide-dog schools, where they'll start official training to be the full-time eyes for a blind companion.
At colleges, the dogs learn basic skills, from understanding when to be quiet to showing restraint with squirrels (apparently the hardest challenge). Guide-dog schools say campuses are great places to learn the basics because students are