BYUH students learn about service dogs

[Story and photos by Mike Foley: Published originally in the BYU-Hawaii online “Newsroom,” March 5, 2009]

Susan LuehrsBrigham Young University Hawaii Honors students learned in their colloquium on March 4 about a unique program in nearby Kahuku — one of only 40 in the world — fully accredited to train highly skilled service dogs to help disabled people, and how they differ from other assistance, therapeutic and “seeing eye” guide dogs as well as other service animals.

Susan Luehrs [pictured at right], Executive Director of Hawaii Fi-Do, which is based in the makai parking lot of Kahuku Medical Center, was a special education teacher at Kahuku High when she first got involved with training the unique dogs in 1999 as a way to help her students. She brought Ehu [pictured below: the name refers to its hair color], a year-old Labradoodle that is part of the program, who lay quietly near Luehrs for most of the presentation. Labradoodles are an evolving hybrid originally cross-bred in Australia between Labrador Retrievers and Poodles for their temperament and low-shedding hypoallergenic fur.

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