Student interest group helps train service dogs

FetchingFreedom_ShannonFinnegan_Autumn_RebeccaKanaskie2EDITEDBy Erin Jesionowski

Elm Staff Writer

One of the newest student interest groups to campus is Fetching Freedom, which pairs service dogs in training with Washington College students. The group is a branch of Fidos for Freedom, a nonprofit that uses trained service dogs to enrich and better the lives of people in the Baltimore and D.C. areas.

Fetching Freedom was started by Shannon Finnegan and Jared Kovacs, who can be seen walking around campus with their own service dog in training, Autumn.

Finnegan said she started Fetching Freedom for two main reasons — her “love for dogs and her constant involvement in service.”

“My parents instilled a desire to help others very early so it’s always brought me joy. I met Fidos for Freedom (our parent organization) when I was probably about six years old through a church friend and immediately fell in love with their mission which is why they were the first group I asked to help me with this project,” Finnegan said.

The end goal of Fetching Freedom is to train dogs that will be used by Fidos for Freedom. In turn, Finnegan was sure the benefits to the College would be immense, specifically calling them “immeasurable.”

The service dog Finnegan is training, Autumn, already offers stress relief for students and faculty around campus.

“She also tends to brighten people’s day as she’s strutting around,” she said.

Finnegan explained her goals for the group, hoping it will “help students learn more about service animals and teach them how to approach, interact with, and advocate for service animals of all capacities.”

“The added responsibility of training will also help students focus on things a bit bigger than themselves, which will help the college community become more cohesive as a whole,” she said.

She concluded with her hopes for Fetching Freedom in the future, “I can’t wait to get a few more dogs on campus and I know the current and future leaders of the organization will be working to expand our presence in the years to come.”

To find out more information about Fetching Freedom, check out their Instagram @fidosforfreedom or attend their weekly meetings on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in the Egg.

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