Category Archives: Penn Working Dog Center

Happy Veterans Day!!

Author: Edna Gonzalez, GED’15

This is my view every morning on the way to work

This is my view every morning on the way to work


The fall is in full swing and I’ve fallen (quite literally) prey to the yearly count of student injuries. Below is the lovely boot I’ve been sporting for about 4 weeks.



For those who attended Homecoming, I sported the “boot” proudly on Locust walk. You might have seen me wobbling around with my Penn gear on taking photos of people enjoying their time. If you missed Homecoming, I have to say…YOU MISSED OUT! The Taste of Penn had delicious foods from different ethnicities. Locust walk was buzzing with students, children, Alumni, and even their pets! It was great seeing Alumni, young and old, come from all over the country to visit campus. I felt like a true Quaker.





Even Ronnie, a dog in the Penn Vet Working Dog program arrived with his foster mom to enjoy the scenery. I recommend you take a look at the amazing work they’re doing by training dogs to be search and rescue canines. You can foster if you live in the area!


Now if only if I can find the excitement and energy I put into homecoming to hold me up this week. I have major assignments due every day this week! How on earth did other graduate students survive??? I just keep reminding myself….Thanksgiving break is around the corner!

I also heard a rumor going around that it might snow and rain this week. Ekk!! I’m not ready, especially with a boot around campus! Cross your fingers that it won’t snow!


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Filed under Alumni Programming, Campus Life, Penn Vet, Penn Working Dog Center, Student Perspective

What I’ve learned from Ohlin – One of the Penn Vet Working Dogs

Author: Jean Findlay

It has been just about a year since Ohlin has arrived at Penn and into my life. I am the Foster for the chocolate labrador named Ohlin, the 8th puppy to join the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. He arrived on Halloween Day 2012. He is now a constant companion and rides to work with me every day and attends school at one of the finest working dog programs in the country located at Penn on the Gray’s Ferry Campus.



If Ohlin could speak these are the things that I think he would be reminding all of us to do:

  1. Stretch when you wake up
  2. Wag more – bark less
  3. Be loyal
  4. Live simply
  5. Take naps
  6. Don’t feel guilty about eating a treat
  7. Make new friends
  8. When loved ones come home run to the door to greet them
  9. Long walks are good for you
  10. When someone is having a bad day just sit next them – no words necessary

There are 16 puppies that are in training to be detection dogs. This week you may have seen in the news that the center celebrated its one-year anniversary with a special program and graduated the first puppy, K9-Socks, who will join Penn’s Division of Public Safety as their first explosive and tracking dog. These puppies are all named after 9/11 rescue dogs. There were more than 300 search and rescue dogs that helped in the rescue effort at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. This video tells their story. Ohlin’s namesake was deployed to the World Trade Center.  Here is a photo of the original Ohlin at work.


In the past year, Ohlin has grown from a little ball of fur into 58 pound sleek, athletic, energetic, and let me repeat energetic dog. He is a handsome boy who is always happy – his tail wags all of the time. He would never be able to work with explosives!


In Ohlin’s first weeks with me he went into the election polls to vote on November 6, rode in a shopping cart, visited the Penn Student Calling Center, attended the Penn-Harvard football game and helped me to meet neighbors who wanted to say hello to the cute little chocolate lab at the end of the leash!


Ohlin is currently part of the cancer team of three dogs, which also includes, McBaine (sponsored by St. Germain Catering) and Tsunami. This collaborative project, launched by Penn and the Monell Chemical Senses Center, with an $80,000 grant from the Kaleidoscope of Hope Ovarian Cancer Foundation, involves experts in such disparate fields as veterinary science, oncology, physics, organic chemistry, and nanotechnology. Follow this link to the article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.


If you are interested in learning more about the Penn Vet Working Dog Program please reach out to them or me. There are many ways to get involved as a volunteer and spend time with these little super-heroes in training. I plan on trying to get a superman costume on Ohlin for Halloween this year. We’ll see how that goes.


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Other links of note are:

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Filed under Jean F., Penn Vet, Penn Working Dog Center, The Penn Fund

Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia Volunteers at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center

Author: Stephanie Yee, C’08

The Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia recently volunteered at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. Established in 2007, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs. I first learned about the Penn Vet Working Dog Center from Frankly Penn posts: here and here. I scheduled a group volunteer event for our club members and hoped others loved puppies as much as I do. Little did I know that Penn alumni in Philly LOVE puppies! Our volunteer event filled up in record time of half a day! Here are a few photos from our volunteer event.


Penn alumni playing with puppy Ohlin.

Specifically, we played “pass the puppy” with him.

Specifically, we played “pass the puppy” with him.


We also learned new training techniques with puppy Socks.

We also learned new training techniques with puppy Socks.

With the help of Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Pat Kaynaroglu, we got tips about how to help the puppies build their core muscles.

With the help of Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Pat Kaynaroglu, we got tips about how to help the puppies build their core muscles.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Clubs, Penn Vet, Penn Working Dog Center, Philadelphia, Stephanie Y.

More Penn Puppies

Author: Aimee LaBrie (photos courtesy of Emilie Kretschmar)

This morning, my friend Emilie and I went to the grand opening of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the new facility near Grey’s Ferry. Welcome remarks came from Joan Hendricks, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of the Vet School, followed by comments from Executive Vice President, Craig Carnaroli. Not only is Mr. Carnaroli a supporter of the program, he and his wife are also volunteer foster parents for Socks, pictured below.  Socks is named after Socks Lavoie, a lab who worked with rescue workers following the World Trade Center collapse 11 years ago today.

We got to pet her after the ceremony.

Like all puppies, she was still clumsy and got most of the water on her coat.

We also heard from Cynthia Otto, the Executive Director of the Program, as well as David Konty, Senior Advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Animal Planet celebrity, Victoria Sitwell, star of It’s Me or the Dog. She spoke about living in Manhattan at the time of the attacks and working with the Humane Society to bring therapy dogs along to help families who had lost loved ones during the attack.

She described how the families, who were on the way to the memorial site, would be sitting on the ferry, mostly not speaking, and certainly not smiling; lost and isolated in their separate grief. Then, they would bring the dogs on to the ferry and the entire atmosphere would change as people interacted with the dogs, petting them, and then talking to one another. One mother watched as her son got down on the ground to play with a cocker spaniel.  He laughed at something the dog did, and the mom said, “That’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh since his dad died.”  That’s what working dogs can do; not only can they be taught to literally save lives in the time of crisis, they can also help us to heal after one.

Next, we were able to meet three of the living rescue dogs from 9/11: Kaiser, Bretagne, and Morgan, all of whom received commendations from Tom Sharp, CEO of the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery and standing ovations from the crowd. I noticed too that sitting right in front of us were two working dogs who are currently part of the State of New Jersey Urban Search and Rescue team. As you can see from the third photo in the series below, the dogs seemed to be good friends.

Lastly, we got to meet the inaugural puppy class of 2013, all of whom are named after rescue dogs–Bretagne, Kaiserin, Morgan, PApa Bear (PA stands for Pennsylvania), Sirius, Socks, and little Thunder (pictured below with toy).  We also learned from Maureen Rush, VP for Public Safety, that two members of the graduating class will become part of the Penn Security Canine team upon graduation.

Can you even resist helping out? If you’d like to volunteer your time, go here. You can also have a significant impact by making a gift to the Penn Vet Working Dog Center today. Your contribution will most certainly make a difference in the lives of these dogs, and the people they help every day.

Addendum: Had to add this photo after I found it on the Penn Working Dog Center Facebook page. The K-9 team heading toward the World Trade Center on 9.11.2001.


Filed under Aimee L., Penn Vet, Penn Working Dog Center, Uncategorized