Jordan Hanson recently began caring for an assistance dog in training named Puppy Hutch III through the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) organization.
Hanson, 19, of Jackson, is a rising sophomore at the University of Delaware. She is a pre-veterinary and animal bioscience major with a minor in neuroscience. She began her involvement with the organization through a CCI club at Delaware during the fall of 2016.
Hanson said CCI is the nation’s largest provider of highly trained assistance dogs to people of all ages, including military veterans, who have a disability.
“I decided to raise Hutch to make a difference. My experience cannot be compared to anything I have done so far in my life,” Hanson explained. “He has taught me so much in such a short time.”
Hutch is a 4-month-old black Labrador retriever who will one day assist a child or an adult. He will learn more than 30 commands from Hanson and when he reaches 18 months he will receive professional training from instructors at the organization’s regional headquarters in Medford, N.Y.
Volunteer caretakers like Hanson are a critical part of the organization, according to information provided by CCI. Due to the generosity of donors, there is no cost for the recipient to obtain a puppy.
Hanson is responsible for teaching Hutch basic skills and commands, as well as socialization skills to expose him to different types of environments.
“Hutch will be very difficult to give up when the time comes, but I realize how much good he can do for someone else. I am going to be proud of all he has accomplished rather than being sad I don’t have him anymore,” Hanson said.
According to Hanson, her contribution to CCI is also related to her personal life. She said a family member suffered a stroke that left one side of his body paralyzed, forcing him to be in a wheelchair. She said she wishes he had a dog to help him with simple tasks and she is hoping she can make a difference for someone else who needs assistance.
“I may only be raising one dog right now, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but I am hoping Hutch can make a big impact for someone else one day,” Hanson added.
Hutch will accompany Hanson back to college and attend classes and campus events with her. Hanson said Hutch will stay in her dorm room on a designated puppy raising floor.
For Hanson, the experience is much more than raising a puppy for a good cause; it is a way to truly make an impact on a community of those who are in need of help.