Round of a-paws for Hershey and Bando, the Dog House’s newest residents

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The Dog House welcomed two new roommates last Saturday: six-month old black Labrador retriever Hershey, and five and half-month old black Labrador and golden retriever mix Bando. (Photo by Emma Sylvester ’25)

Shirley Liu, Arts & Culture Editor

Bark hello to two new furry friends on College Hill.

Last Saturday, the Dog House welcomed Hershey and Bando, the first dogs they will be raising long-term since the spring of 2020. Hershey is a six-month-old black Labrador retriever, and Bando is a five and half-month old black Labrador and golden retriever mix.

The Dog House raises aspiring service dogs for an organization called Canine Partners for Life. Residents of the living and learning house prepare the dogs for real service dog training by teaching them basic service dog behaviors and socializing them to be around people in an indoor space. This training ranges from basic commands like “sit” and “stay,” to some more advanced tricks.

“There was a command in the handbook called ‘go pay’ where I think they’re supposed to take something in their mouth, put their front paws on the counter and spit out whatever they have,” Dog House resident Julia Banks ‘23 said. “So if you were in a wheelchair, say, you could hand the dog money and say, ‘go pay,’ and it would put its paws on the counter and spit the money out.”

The Dog House also teaches the dogs more mundane habits that are particular to service dogs. For instance, the dogs are taught to switch sides in front of their owner rather than behind them. This way, if their future owner is a wheelchair user, their leash won’t get tangled in the wheels.

“Those are the things that you never really end up thinking about if you’re an able-bodied person and working with a dog, but we have to consider all the little details,” Sam Iacavazzi ‘22, who is involved with the Dog House program, said.

Dog house members work to train Hershey and Bando how to walk in public places. (Photo courtesy of Sam Iacavazzi ’22)

Still, it’s not all hard work. Hershey and Bando have been showering their new owners at the Dog House with plenty of affection.

“Both of them are so far really cuddly,” Banks said. “Bando just loves to be around everybody. If we’re all in a room and one of us leaves, he’s gonna follow that person and look at them like, ‘Okay, where are you going?’ Which is really sweet.”

Dog House resident Maddie Perry ‘24 said that Hershey “likes being the center of attention.”

“He’s very cuddly. He just wants to be near you at all times,” Perry said. “He really loves learning and tries really hard to do what you ask him to do in the way he’s supposed to, which is really sweet to watch.”

As much as Hershey and Bando love cuddles and attention, the Dog House urged students to keep their distance if they see the dogs around campus.

“If they are clearly working, just stay back from them a little bit,” Perry said. “If you are sitting in Gilbert’s or something and are relaxing and we are watching them, then it’s more of an appropriate time to be like, ‘Hey, can I do what’s necessary to pet the dog?’”

“Iacavazzi” has a catchy phrase to remember what to do when you see Hershey and Bando at work: “You can pet them with your eyes, but not with your hands.”