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High School Student Fosters Dogs for Veterans - Wins State-Level FFA Contest

Over the last 3 years, North Polk High School student, Kynsly Gehling, has been working on an extensive FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. As of recently, she was notified that she won the state-level Small Animal Production Proficiency and that her application will advance to the national level in October. Her SAE project was working with the Puppy Jake Foundation as a full-time foster for some of their service dogs in training. The foundation helps train service dogs for disabled veterans all around the United States. Kynsly got the chance to train with a dog named Murphy, pictured below, who has been placed with her veteran, and a second named Jim, pictured below, who was re-careered and will hopefully become a therapy dog in the future. 

 

The process for this project included getting accepted as a foster and going through a few training sessions. After the completed training, she was notified that she would be getting to work with one of their new litters, Murphy’s litter. Every week, the two went in for group training and to receive new skills to work on. Every week brought on more and more training, adding 3 to 4 skills per week. The same process and training went on for Jim as well. 

The SAE project resided in the Small Animal Production and Care proficiency area along with being a placement, meaning that the project was done through volunteer work. 

Kynsly’s future plans after North Polk are to go to Columbia College in South Carolina and study Communications. 

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