Senior Projects During a Tumultuous Year


Charlie Sabella and Zoe Bell

Every year seniors at our school must pick a community outreach project, commonly known as the Senior Project, to complete during our last year of high school. This year was no exception despite most of it being done through distance learning. The Senior Project committee made a few adaptations to the regular expectations of the project but, for the most part, will presumably have the same outcome. Senior Maya Tiu decided early on her senior project.  

“I fostered a service puppy from Bergin University of Canine Studies for three months,” said Tiu. 

Bergin University of Canine Studies is located in Penngrove. It is a university not only for dogs to be trained to become service dogs but also for people to get a degree in Human-Canine Life Sciences whether that be an Associates, Bachelors or even a Masters of Science. The possibilities at Bergin are truly endless if you are interested in Canine studies. An extensive application process did go on for Tiu to be able to foster a dog to train. 

“The application process involved many papers just about you, why you want to foster a puppy, why you’re qualified, and what your home life is like because the puppy will be living with you at home. Also, who in your family would be around and lives with you? How big is your backyard? Is it a fenced area so you can train back there? Do you have a pool? Do you have a preference for what kind of dog you want? Do you want a lab, retriever, black lab, yellow lab, male, female? Do you have any other pets at home? All in all, it’s just a big questionnaire. And you submit that to Bergin, and then they reach out to you if they need you or, you know, if they want you to be part of the program,” said Tiu.

Additionally, Tiu mentioned that she had to conduct a full house Zoom tour once selected for the program so that the university could make sure the documentation submitted matched where the dog would be raised and trained. 

“The dog had to be with me 24/7, and she would sleep in my room in a crate because when I got her, I needed to crate-train her. That’s just part of the training. I got her as a puppy, so we started with the basics like shake, down, sit,” said Tiu. The commitment she made during the three months was nothing short of every minute of every day, as Tiu explained. Since she decided to do it at the beginning of summer, she mentioned how it took up some of her free time in the summer but was worth it nevertheless.

Tiu even mentioned that even if she did not have to do a Senior Project this year, she would have wanted to go through the program since it was very rewarding and exciting. Tiu, along with many others, would recommend checking out Bergin University of Canine Studies for those who are interested in dogs and how they are raised for the disabled.