Service Dog in Training at the Archive

If you have visited the Archives this semester, you might have noticed a new sign at our reference desk:

Service Dog in the Archives sign, Sept. 2013

Service Dog in the Archives sign, Sept. 2013

One of our graduate assistants, Karis, is involved with the student organization  4Paws4Ability WSU, a branch of the larger 4Paws4Ability, which socializes and trains future service dogs for people with disabilities. The dogs live with a foster for a semester, and the foster and co-handlers take the dog with them everywhere they go (work, class, restaurants, shopping, etc.), to help acclimate them to the many people, places, and situations they will encounter in their work as a working service dog.

This semester, Karis is helping to socialize a Golden Labrador puppy named A’Kos. And, as part of his socialization, A’Kos accompanies Karis to work in the Archives on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons (and sometimes Thursdays). So, you may see A’Kos at the reference desk sometimes on those days:

Karis and A'Kos, Sept. 2013

Karis and A’Kos, Sept. 2013

The 4Paws4Ability folks use a naming convention to name all the puppies in a particular litter. A’Kos and his siblings are all named after types of hawks. A’Kos means “white falcon” is Turkish. He has a brother named Falcon who is also being socialized at WSU. The naming conventions can vary widely; for instance, in the past, there have been litters named after cookies, aircraft, and Dr. Seuss characters, to name a few.

A’Kos wears a leash, a gentle leader, and a little red 4Paws4Ability vest at all times. Most of the time, he just hangs out underneath the reference desk:

A'Kos under the reference desk, Sept. 2013

A’Kos under the reference desk, Sept. 2013

He’s very quiet and calm. You probably wouldn’t even know he was there except for the sign!

Here are a few things to know if you’re visiting us when A’Kos and Karis are at the reference desk:

  • A’Kos is not an on-duty service dog yet, so it’s okay to pet him. (Actually, it’s encouraged!)
  • If you are allergic or otherwise averse to working in the reading room with a dog present, please let us know. A’Kos would be sad if he thought he was making anyone uncomfortable (and so would we)!
  • A’Kos is usually here for a few hours on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and sometimes on Thursdays. Feel free to call ahead to find out if A’Kos will be around during your intended visit.
  • If you have any questions about A’Kos or about the 4Paws4Ability program, just ask Karis! (Or if you have questions and Karis is not around, ask any of us, and we’ll find out!)

We just love having A’Kos around. It’s like having Fuzz Therapy every week! We hope you’ll stop by and visit A’Kos—and us!

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