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Service Dog Training Takes Place On FSU Campus In New Partnership

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Paws 4 People, Fairmont State University, the United Way of Marion County, the Marion County Humane Society, and the Pruntytown Correctional Facility have all come together to change lives.

Everyone is working together to get service dogs campus-ready.

"They have the opportunity to use the handicapped accessible doors, they have the opportunity to learn how to do elevators, and be in a sporting environment or an eating establishment," said Dr. Maria Rose, Fairmont State University President.

Alex Keefover and Kingsley have been best friends for several years now.

"Everyone loves him and he loves the people. He's amazing," Keefover said.

They attended high school together and now, thanks to Paws for People, they will go to college together.

"It's really exciting to start here and get used to it," Keefover said.

"It's extremely exciting to have Alex here and have him go to Fairmont State because we worked so hard to get him here with Kingsley. I only did a little bit of the work, he did most of it himself with the grades and everything," said Mark Reynolds, Paws 4 People.

Paws for people and inmates from the Pruntytown Correctional Center are working with Kingsley and other service dogs to get them campus-ready.

"I think we're more nervous then they are. She is coming along great. She handles the stairs well, the elevators, the handicapped buttons for the people that need to get in and out," said Brandon Thornhill, Pruntytown Inmate.

The United Way of Marion County recently adopted Paws 4 People as one of its agencies.

"The United Way has stepped in as a partner to help facilitate, open doors for them, and provide funding that can hopefully help more clients in Marion County," said Tiffany Samuels, United Way Executive Director.

Fairmont State welcomes the program with open arms and believes it will provide great opportunities for its students.

"Now that Alex and Kingsley are here, they will be able to provide good examples for dogs that are currently in training. They will know what they need to do and how they need to act. We will serve as a resource for them," President Rose said.