Babinski Foundation Partners with Brainerd’s Area Education Center for K-9 Connection
The Babinski Foundation hosted the K-9 Connection graduation ceremony Wednesday at their animal shelter in Pequot Lakes. K-9 Connection is a unique joint program with the Brainerd Public Schools Area Education Center, where students and canines learn right alongside each other.
JoDee Moen, a teacher at the Brainerd Learning Center, had previously worked with a similar program while teaching in Los Angeles and wanted to do something like it here.
“Babinski was my first pick,” Moen said, “because they are just phenomenal and do such amazing things.”
Donna Sutton, Executive Director of the Babinski Foundation, initially wasn’t sure they were ready to take on the task but later saw the benefits of going forward with it.
“It sounded like a lot of work, a lot of time,” Sutton admitted, “but I thought I would give it a chance and ultimately at the end I could see the impact it made on the student and on our dogs.”
K-9 Connection is a four-week program, and the students spend two days a week, for two hours a day, at the animal shelter training their dog and learning about a dog-related topic or job. Syd Gentry, a student and trainer of Jasper, says she felt a sense of accomplishment from seeing her dog make progress and would recommend the course to everyone.
“I learned a lot just about dogs in general,” said Gentry. “That was probably one of my favorite parts because the first day I got him he didn’t really know how to do anything and now he does.”
Jasper, along with two other dogs that graduated, were adopted and left with their families after the ceremony.
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