Indy-Pendence Service Dogs

Who are we?

Indy-pendence Service Dogs is a Registered Student Organization at Illinois State University. Students from our program are chosen by Paws Giving Independence, a service dog training organization in Peoria, to foster and train dogs for service work.

How did we get our name?

Some may have wondered how we came up with the name of our organization. Indy was one of our first service dogs in training; she was raised by Dr. Rhykerd, one of our advisors. Unfortunately, Indy was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and eventually passed away. Indy-pendence is a friendly reminder of an amazing dog we had the pleasure of working with but also a reminder to how far this organization has come.

What is a student trainer?

ISU students participate as student trainers or foster homes for service dogs. Each student trainer is assigned a dog or dogs to work with. During the time with the dog, the trainer goes through a normal routine of attending classes and running errands, while also teaching skills to the dog. The trainer is responsible for the dog for the duration of the dog’s visit on campus, and he or she must complete a training report at the end of the day.

How do I get involved in Indy-Pendence?

Please note: there is an application process, including interviews and skills training, to be accepted as a student trainer.

For more information and to learn more about us, please visit us our Facebook page or email us at