Pawsitism Shoe Drive


Andrea Barile, Staff Reporter

RUFF Academy is collaborating with Lakeland University to host a shoe drive for Pawsitism. Pawsitism is a program that trains service animals for individuals with autism. April Arvan, who currently has a dog being trained through this program, was inspired by the institution and helped connect Pawsitism with Lakeland.  

According to Rebekah Hintzman, Vice President of Pawsitism, “the puppies start their training with Pawsitism at 8-9 weeks old and remain in the program for 18 months. They are trained through RUFF Academy Real Life Dog Training in Sheboygan located at 1228 Erie Avenue. They are trained to be tethered to a child with autism while being walked and handled by a parent or caretaker.” The dogs are taught a series of helpful guidance techniques, such as remaining still if the child decides to run off and tracking in case the child becomes separated or lost.  

RUFF Academy is currently attempting to acquire 2,500 shoes through the donation drive with hopes of hosting this annually. The shoes are donated to Funds2orgs, a program that donates shoes to locations such as Haiti to help set up opportunities for commerce and business via selling the donated shoes. If the collection goal is met, RUFF Academy will receive $1,000 to help their organization. Shoes donated must be in new or very good condition. Everyone is encouraged to donate to drop boxes, which can be found around campus.