Updated: Thursday, 17 Sep 2009, 9:04 AM CDT
Published : Thursday, 17 Sep 2009, 5:35 AM CDT
GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) - A class at Southwestern University in Georgetown has gone to the dogs.
That's because the dogs are teaching freshman about life outside of the classroom.
The freshman seminar Hobgood-Oster is talking about is called "Going to the Dogs," and for this class, students are literally going to the dogs at the Georgetown Animal Shelter.
"You get to interact with the dogs," said Southwestern University freshman Hannah Brock. "It's not just sitting in a classroom."
Students are required to spend at least one hour a week volunteering, in addition to learning about dogs in the classroom. It might make some wonder, "What's the connection between dogs and freshman adjusting to life in college?"
"On the surface, it may seem like a trivial topic, but if you think about what dogs are, they have been associated with humans for the last 10- or 15,000 years," said Dr. Jimmy Smith, a professor of kinesiology at Southwestern University.
Smith and Laura Hobgood-Oster have been teaching the class for eight years and believe dogs can teach students a lot about the real world - like a dog that had to be surrendered due to a domestic violence case.
"They begin to see how we are interconnected and see what happens to humans, happens to dogs," said Smith.
Students are able to see the hardship of giving something up because you cannot afford it.
"Every family this guy ever knew is gone," said Smith.
And this class is about finding solutions for homeless dogs, like a great pyrenees that was surrendered by its owner.
"Hopefully a livestock dog group will be able to take that dog out of the shelter to open a run for another dog," said Hobgood-Oster.
And lets face it . Who can complain about a class that gives lots of love by just showing up?
The class also uses dogs to incorporate lessons on culture, environment and religion.