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Happy Gotcha Day, Wrigley!

May 11, 2020

One year ago today we welcome Wrigley into the ISD family! We are so proud of all of the progress he has made! Keep up the great work!

Congrats, Grad! Ike heads to his new home!

March 27, 2020

Ike is officially a full-time service dog! We sure will miss this good boy, but now he is in his forever home (and loving it!) and get's to keep doing what he loves everyday – helping his new handler and giving him lots of love and cuddles! Congrats, Ike!

Congrats, Grad! Alma is placed with her new handler!

February 16, 2020

This week we sent Alma off to her new, "furever" home! Alma was placed with her new handler and is now working as a service dog! We are going to miss her happy smile dearly, but we cannot wait to see the good she brings into the world, as a full-time service dog!

Welcome Home, Penny!

January 22, 2020

This month we welcomed in a new member of the ISD family, Penny! Penny is an English Labrador Retriever, welcomed home from Crest Kennels! We cannot wait to see the progress this sweet little girl makes in her coming years as an Illini Service Dog!

Welcome New Member Class of 2019!

October 07, 2019

This past week we welcomed in the new members of ISD at our All Member Retreat! These new additions are going to spend the next few months learning to train our future service dogs! Congrats to everyone, we can't wait to see where the year goes!

Goal Setting for Success

June 30, 2018

Every summer, ISD holds its annual leadership retreat. This year's was hosted in downtown Chicago where our board of directors set goals for the year and took part in team building activities. The retreat also serves as an introduction and welcome to our incoming Executive Board. This year's high level goals consist of refining training processes to steadily increase ISD's service dog output, highlighting the accomplishments of our members, reaching our fundraising goal of $20,000 and a major upgrade to ISD's IT infrastructure.

Welcome, Lincoln!

June 02, 2018

We are thrilled to introduce Lincoln, our newest canine teammate! Lincoln was rescued in Mississippi and transferred to the Anti-Cruelty Society in downtown Chicago where ISD adopted him through PetSmart Charities. Named after Lincoln Hall on the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois, Lincoln will start his training journey learning the basics and steadily progress towards more advanced commands over the next two years. We can't wait to see all that him and his trainers will accomplish over the coming years!

Congrats, Grad!

April 29, 2018

This spring we said "see ya later" to Maizey as she heads down to Alabama to show off her southern charm. After a little more than two years of training, Maizey has graduated from ISD's program and will assist her placement with tasks such as retrieving objects, turning lights on and off and opening and closing doors. While it's always hard to see our dogs go, Maizey's successful placement is a true testament to all the hard work that her amazing trainers accomplished over the past two years and underscores ISD's mission of mobilizing the world a little more, each and every day. 

ISD Welcomes Two New Training Advisors

April 01, 2018

In an effort to steadily increase the number of service dogs we place each year, ISD welcomes two new training advisors to the team! Maddi Steiner, a cancer research biologist and former primary trainer for ISD, will oversee a current dog team. Her experience stems from being the primary trainer for Huff, one of ISD's more recent graduate dogs, when she was a student on campus. Mary Kiolbasa, an occupational therapist, brings experience from two other service dog organizations, including her being the founder of Viking Pups. Viking Pups is a service dog organization hosted on the campus of Augustana College. Mary held the position of President during her time with Viking Pups and has trained multiple service dogs. She will also oversee a current ISD dog team.

ISD Featured on College Game Day

October 28, 2017

Illini Service Dogs was recently featured in ESPN's College Game Day show during the Fighting Illini Game. The short segment highlighted what ISD does and some action shots of our dogs showing off their skills!

ISD participates in U of I's "Quad Day"

August 26, 2017

Each year, Illini Service Dogs participates in Quad Day which is an event where all U of I student organizations set up booths on the main quad to inform students on what they do and how to get involved. This year, ISD received interest from well over 1000 students and received hundreds of applications to join our organization. Over the next couple weeks, our leaders on campus will interview these candidates and select approximately 20 of them to join the team.

Four dogs added to the ISD team!

August 01, 2017

Illini Service Dogs added 4 new pups to the team this summer! Two Labrador retriever siblings, Alma and Newman (pictured) were graciously donated by the Lindeen family and the pup's breeder Lisa Huizenga. Shortly after acquiring these two, Illini Spirit Standard Poodles donated two standard poodle puppy siblings, Ike and Berry. ISD's success has many of its roots in the generous families and breeders that donate dogs to our organization each year and we are truly grateful for them. To see all of our dogs currently undergoing training, visit Our Dog page.

New executive board takes the reins

July 09, 2017

Every summer, the newly elected executive board takes the reins of running the University of Illinois branch of Illini Service Dogs. They oversee the day-to-day operations that take place such as on-campus fundraisers, member development and training sessions. They also work closely with the administrative board to coordinate events, take part in the dog placement process and run the 501(c)(3), not-for-profit branch of ISD. The president of the executive board also has a position on the administrative board and voting rights when it comes to making organizational decisions. This year, the following were elected to the board: 

Andrea Carlson, President

Junior majoring in community health

John Chapman, Vice President

Senior majoring in mechanical engineering

Kyle Hand, Secretary

Junior majoring in computer engineering

Joe Stehlik

Junior majoring in kinesiology

Megan Sebahar

Sophomore majoring in community health

ISD members recognized for their outstanding contributions

April 30, 2017

While all of our members continually make great contributions to fuel the success of ISD, five of them stood out during the 2016/2017 academic year. The following members were recognized for their outstanding service:

Name: Alyssa Henkels (pictured)

Academic Standing: Graduating Senior

Major: Actuarial Science

ISD Role: Executive Board President & Administrative Board Executive Liaison

Award Received: Co-Winner of the Founder's award

Name: Jenny Williams

Academic Standing: Graduate Student

Major: Nutritional Sciences

ISD Role: Primary Trainer

Award Received: Co-Winner of the Founder's award

Name: Maddie Steiner

Academic Standing: Graduating Senior

Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology

ISD Role: Primary Trainer

Award Received: Senior Award

Name: Kyle Hand

Academic Standing: Junior

Major: Computer Engineering

ISD Role: Secondary Trainer and Incoming Executive Treasurer

Award Received: Rising Star Award

Name: Bailey Harmon

Academic Standing: Freshman

Major: Clarinet Performance

ISD Role: Secondary Trainer

Award Received: President's Award

Abe departs for his life as a service dog

March 19, 2017

It's always a bitter-sweet moment when one of our dogs departs the ISD program to fulfill his or her true purpose as a service dog. After more than two years of training and preparation, Abe has ventured off into the California sunset where he will provide assistance in retrieving objects, counter balancing and bracing. He entered the ISD program as a puppy where his enthusiasm and love for his teammates (human and canine) and training were obvious. Abe began his training off campus with an ISD alumnus, developing his abilities and going for 5 mile runs on a daily basis before transitioning to the Illinois campus for the second half of his training. His skills will be monitored over the course of his life by ISD training advisors so his exit from the program isn't a "goodbye" but more so a "see you later."

Prospective students and their families get a glimpse into the life of a service dog trainer

March 11, 2017

Illini Service Dogs (ISD) had the opportunity to participate in this year's "Explore ACES" event where prospective students and their families had the chance to explore the academic and career opportunities that Illinois' college of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences has to offer. While ISD is not directly affiliated with ACES, we continually partner with the different colleges & organizations for various events. This occasion was used to educate prospective students on service dogs, disability culture and all of the leadership and personal development opportunities that ISD has to offer during their future college careers.

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