Meet ChiChi, a certified professional therapy dog that works at Loras College and Clinton Community College assisting students in a variety of ways. She and her handlers, Ty and Bianca Perkins, have been specifically trained to work together as a team to help meet the diverse needs of traditional and non-traditional college students.
ChiChi has been in training to become a professional therapy dog since she was 8 weeks old. Together as a team, she and her handlers participated in a comprehensive 1-week training program through CARES, Inc. in March of 2015. The training focused on three key areas: basic obedience, public manners, and skills related to the specific duties ChiChi will be required to perform at the colleges. ChiChi and her handlers successfully passed the Public Access Exam and became certified as a service dog team. The skills ChiChi has been taught classify her as a service animal and afford her access provided by the American Disability Act.
ChiChi’s primary role at Loras College and Clinton Community College is to help promote learning and student success through her presences and trained skills. Bianca is currently working on her doctoral degree and will be conducting research in the fall of 2015 to study the affects ChiChi has on student motivation and test anxiety. Her presence on college campuses is exciting as she has already proven to bring many smiles, spark many conversations, and brighten many days.
As longtime clients of Neumeister Animal Hospital, the Perkins’s trust Dr. Neumeister’s knowledge and expertise in the field of veterinary care and could not think of a better person to provide healthcare for ChiChi. Dr. Neumeister has always had a strong, positive presence in the community and has always served as a wonderful advocate for the importance of the human-animal bond. The Perkins’ greatly admire her success and contributions to the community and are honored to have her support ChiChi’s work.