Fraternity welcomes service dog to family

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TJ Slade, sophomore in advertising and Delta Sigma Phi, is one of the members who fulfills the responsibility of training Miller, the black labrador retriever service dog the fraternity has been raising and training since February. Miller is an additional initiative to the fraternity's co-philanthropy with Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Sig Dogs, that benefits Four Paws. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Delta Sigma Phi and Gamma Phi Beta have been hosting Delta Sig Dogs since 2012. As an addition to this year’s philanthropy event, the fraternity men are raising and training a service dog.

“Those who attend can expect all-you-can-pet puppies and all-you-can-eat hot dogs,” Tyler Samuelson, Delta Sigma Phi philanthropy chair and freshman in biology, said. “It’s just an amazing environment to be in.”

All proceeds will go to the Purple Animal Welfare Society, a local organization that rescues animals and places them in foster homes.

When planning for Delta Sig Dogs started this year, Delta Sigma Phi house mom Barb Holste said she thought, “What can we do to make Delta Sig Dogs more involved?” Then, Holste remembered her friend who has a service dog that works in local schools as a therapy tool for children.

“Our house mom brought the idea up to me during a meeting,” Dominique Robinson, Delta Sigma Phi president and senior in family studies and pre-law, said. “We discussed how the opportunity can benefit someone in need, but also give some of our members a way to show initiative and responsibility. We ultimately decided that it was the right time and jumped on the idea as soon as we could.”

This brought along Miller, a black lab puppy with a laid back personality and calm temperament. Miller is now the pride and joy of the fraternity, according to members. The men often visit and play with Miller, who is usually found sleeping, army-crawling or cuddling with one of his fraternity brothers.

Though Miller is a very relaxed and quiet puppy, he is on a set daily schedule which includes training, exercising, grooming and bedtime at 9 p.m. Raising and training Miller is being paid for primarily through donations from chapter members, but Delta Sigma Phi has also been reaching out to area pet stores and shelters for assistance.

“It’s a great way to show the community what’s going on at our chapter, and how dedicated we are to a good cause,” Robinson said.

Miller has recently received his Service Dog in Training vest and continues to grow and build service skills. Once he has received his service certification, Miller’s personality and commands will be reevaluated and he will receive training for a specific service category. These categories include one-on-one assistance, group therapy, as well as search and rescue.

Though Miller will only be with the chapter for about a year, Delta Sigma Phi members said they hope to continue this tradition and raise more service dogs in the future.

“Miller is leaving some pretty big shoes to fill,” Holste said. “He is such a great dog and my only hesitation is that another dog won’t live up to him.”

Delta Sig Dogs will be held on April 26 from 12-4 p.m. at 1100 Fremont St. Admittance is a $5 donation or free with a shirt purchase. Shirts can be purchased until Sunday at midnight.

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My name is Caitlyn Frisbie and I am a sophomore in broadcast journalism with a minor in Leadership. I am a K-State Library Ambassador and a member of Sigma Kappa sorority and Society of Professional Journalists. Following graduation, I plan to be a documentary producer and eventually open my own video production company.