Camelback High School Spartan Paws Club Provides Service Learning Opportunity for Students

Posted by Communications on 11/9/2017

The Camelback High School Spartan Paws Club that provides a service learning opportunity for students by working with Service Dogs in Training will present two service dogs to individuals who have served and sacrificed, through a program called Dogs For Our Brave, November 9, at a school assembly.


Camelback is hosting veterans Sebastiana Lopez, USAF, and Odin Ayala, US Army, November 6-14, as they prepare to be partnered with their new service dogs, “Carter” and “Zulu,” who were trained by the high school students.  Both veterans are amputees, and the black labs will help improve overall life-functioning for their new partners.   The assembly, honoring the veterans and serving as a graduation ceremony for the service dogs in training, will be November 9, 11:30 a.m. in the auditorium.


Founded by Maddie Souder, Camelback's Montessori College Prep Class of 2015, and sponsored by Valerie Newman, an Exceptional Student Specialist (ESS) and English teacher, Spartan Paws has helped train multiple dogs in collaboration with Lifeline Assistance Dogs. Club members enhance the lives of people with disabilities by helping to socialize and train basic public access skills for service dogs in training. Club members learn practical job skills related to the care of dogs as well as participate facilitating animal-assisted therapy in Exceptional Student classrooms. Spartan Paws is an inclusion-based club and the only service dog training program that incorporates students with disabilities during the training process.


Spartan Paws holds weekly club meetings, and students have an opportunity to work with a variety of dogs that are in training.  This year, up to five dogs may be on campus daily.   During the assembly, the Camelback Paws students will present “Carter” and “Zulu” to the veterans.  Three other service dogs in training will also graduate the Spartan Paws program that day, and will move on to advance training in preparation for their placements. “Dobby,” “Zonko” and “Kilo” will be placed with their partners in the next few months. 


The school will also be presenting a Spartan Shield Award to Leigh Mitchell, the Community-Based Training aide who has puppy-raised two dogs, taking them home each night.