Meet SCTCC's First Four-Legged Nursing Assistant Grad!

Allie web head
July 2, 2020

“They worked their tails off.” When instructor Jo-Ann Frazier-Hansen mentioned this about her Nursing Assistant class, she wasn’t just talking about her human students.

Service dog Allie also passed the class with flying (honorary) colors.

The class was finishing up the semester on June 29, and among them was Sean Thornton’s service dog, Allie. Allie is rottweiler mix who’s “Half dog, half bear, half cow,” explained Sean. “She’s adorable.”

Sean started the Nursing Assistant class after having Allie for about a month. The Nursing Assistant class was his only class that had a lot of movement in it, and he was worried about how she was going to follow.

“She took it in stride,” he said. Allie was able to monitor what was going on without getting overwhelmed by the action.

Sean got Allie from Patriot Assistance Dogs in Detroit Lakes, which provides service dogs to veterans. Sean served in the Navy as a member of the Military Police from 2002-2012. All service dogs have a two-year trial period, after which veterans can apply for ownership. Once dogs get to retirement age, there is an option to keep them or rehome.

“After the first week, my wife and I decided we want to keep her all the way to the end,” said Sean with a big smile.

He also recommends other veterans look into services dogs: “Take the leap and give it a shot. It’s not any worse than anything you’ve already gone through.”

The students in the Nursing Assistant class, along with instructor Jo-Ann, all appreciated having Allie in the class. And since she went through the same class work, they decided Allie should get a certificate as well.

“This will be the first time I’ve graduated a four footer!” laughed Jo-Ann.

The Nursing Assistant class certificate will hang next to Allie’s Service Dog certification. While Sean is planning on taking a break in classes after receiving his CNA, he’s definitely going to be sticking with the medical field in some fashion. Allie will continue her service dog duties and follow Sean in his medical pursuits.

Kate Wallace