LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2012) — Logan Bright, a new graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Education, first learned about "4 Paws for Ability" before she transferred to UK in the fall of 2009. Once she arrived, she quickly established a chapter of the program that trains and places service dogs on UK's campus, since she saw the potential of the program.
"I wanted to be able to show college students that community service can be fun," Bright said. "And with this program, you learn how being a part of an organization like this can benefit other people in the community so much."
The goal of having this program at UK is to socialize and reinforce training with service puppies, that are sent to UK from the 4 Paws for Ability national office in Xenia, Ohio.
Since Bright established the program, it has become more and more common to see students on campus walking puppies donned in their red service vests, so they are allowed to go inside public places. Student trainers take the dogs everywhere they go (class, restaurants, mall, library etc.), and are required to complete two training sessions per month. After the dogs are trained and socialized by the UK students, they go through one more training before they graduate as official service dogs and are placed with a family.
4 Paws for Ability places the dogs as hearing ear dogs, autism assistance dogs and mobility assistance dogs. The organization specializes in placements with people who have been turned away by other agencies, particularly children.
"One of the dogs trained at UK went to a child with autism," Bright said. "The dog now goes to school with the child and helps him do everyday things such as socializing with his peers."
Bright not only has a passion for helping children through community service, but for helping children learn as well. An elementary education major, she loves children's books and has already published her own: "Ruby the Rabbit Goes Exploring."
She also enjoys taking care of children. During the summer of 2005, she started her own daycare program in her hometown of Mason, Ohio. It started out as a small business with a few children in her neighborhood, which soon turned into 60 children, all in different age groups.
"The daycare has been something that has taught me so much and prepared me to become a teacher," Bright said. "Besides being a great learning experience, it is so much fun to work with children all summer."
So far, all that she has accomplished has helped her prepare for her career as an elementary school teacher. 4 Paws for Ability has allowed her to continue to do what she loves most: helping and teaching children.
"It just makes my day to see a dog helping a child. It's amazing to see how much they can impact their lives."