Learning New Tricks Together

Apr 3, 2013

At the Sonoma Humane Society Bergin University students work with dogs to make them more adoptable. Here, Laura (right) and Barley are ready to play.
Credit KRCB

Almost 20 percent of American’s – about 54 million people -- live with disabilities, running the gamut from poor eyesight, difficulty hearing, trouble in getting around, emotional or physiological problems. For many, the companionship of a specially trained dog is key to living a fuller life. 

Service dogs are able to switch lights on and off, retrieve items, pull wheelchairs, and open doors. Dogs can be trained to help people shop by passing credit cards to cashiers. They can pull back blankets and pull them up again, helping people get into bed. Some dogs even smell low blood sugar levels on the breath of sleeping diabetics and wake them before they slip into a coma. What they’ll be able to do in the future, says Bergin University founder and president Bonnie Bergin, is unlimited. Bergin University in Rohnert Park is the world's only accredited university offering degrees in dog studies. KRCB recently join Bergin University students to sit in on a training session.