Good Citizen Dogs 

JJC Trains Owners and Dogs to Become Good Citizens

Last March, Sylvia Erickson saved the life of a nine month old mixed breed puppy by adopting it from a humane Society in Darien, Illinois. Sylvia named the little black dog Sadie and spent the next nine months giving her the love and attention she would need to become a true friend and hero.

Today, Sadie is an accomplished dog. She is certified as a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) by the American Kennel Club (AKC). If she could talk, Sadie would say she owes it all to Sylvia and Joliet Junior College.

“Our courses in K-9 Good Citizen Obedience (LLC 3620) and Animal Assisted Teams Helping People (LLC 4014) are taught by experienced dog trainers who love animals,” said Brenda Large, personal enrichment coordinator for Joliet Junior College’s (JJC) Corporate and Community Services division. “Two of these trainers, Holly May and Matt Mirro, were part of Sadie’s education which included learning simple commands and preparing for the AKC CGC certificate test which is administered by the instructors.”

Erickson believes the training Sadie received in the good citizen class and the advice she got from Matt and Holly were largely responsible for Sadie earning certification as a therapy dog by Therapy Dogs International. Sadie’s success prompted Ericson to write a letter to Holly May. She wrote: “I must tell you that the program you have at JJC totally prepared us for this test. When I arrived and watched a few dogs test, I felt confident in what Sadie and I could do as a team. This was solely because of the quality of your class and the expertise you shared with us.”

Erickson contacted Silver Cross Hospital to volunteer as a human/dog therapy team. Silver Cross will begin a program in January that will allow Sylvia and Sadie to work with patients. Sylvia hopes to help children and incorporate reading as part of the therapy.

The next K-9 Good Citizen Obedience class begins March 1 and the Animal Assisted Team Helping People class begins in February. To learn more about these classes, call Brenda Large at (815) 280-1504, or e-mail

© 2012 Joliet Junior College

Joliet Junior College
1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, IL 60431-8938
Phone: (815) 729-9020