The first few months of the scraggly mix-breed pup's life ended by being tossed from a vehicle and left alone on a country road.

The first few months of the scraggly mix-breed pup’s life ended by being tossed from a vehicle and left alone on a country road.

Fortunately, the rest of the little pup’s life began when Mike and his daughter Casey stopped and picked the abandon dog up. Now he is one of several learning the basic commands of domestic life while helping to earn money for Stafford High School’s Training to Lead program.

“All the money we make from these companion training classes in the summer go to support the training to lead program we do during the school year,” said instructor Mike Cargill.

The Training to Lead program has high school students foster abandon or unwanted dogs during the school year as the work with Cargill to train them into service dogs. The summer program deals more with dog owners that want to teach their own dogs basic commands.

Cargill and his daughter mix in some abandon animals in the summer classes teaching them enough of the basics to be good companion dogs, or as a starter course to the more demanding service dog training. Cargill was working with a young black lab that he hopes to place with the Robert J. Dole VA center in Wichita when he is done.

Each of the dogs learn to walk on the left side when on a leash (heeling), how to properly turn, stop and sit along with other skills like resting under their trainer’s legs when seated so as not to obstruct the area for others walking by.

They are also taught social skills like sit, stay, and come when called. After each successful task the trainees are treated with a small slice of hot dog.

The little black Poodle mix was named Sparkles by the Cargills, and will be one of the dogs up for adoption at he completion of the course this week.

“She is a real affection and loveable dog,” Casey Cargill said as the small dog lept into this report’s lap. “She does her best work on her hind legs.”

Now well groomed and well fed, Sparkles may not even remember the rough start to her young life, but her appreciation for the a second chance shows as she bounds up the stairs to greet her new companion dancing on her hind legs waiting for a pat and a piece of sliced hot dog.

To learn more about the training classes or to inquiry about adopting a dog contact Mike Cargill at Stafford High School or find them on Facebook at Training to Lead.