Fostering young service dogs a labor of puppy love for UF students

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Every morning, Morgan Montaudo — a University of Florida health science senior on the pre-occupational therapy track — puts on her backpack, heads toward the door and then turns to her wagging golden retriever to ask, “Do you want to be a service dog today?”

Montaudo, 23, and her classmate Emily Kartiganer, 22, each foster a golden retriever for New Horizons Service Dogs — a nonprofit organization headquartered in Central Florida that pairs service dogs with people with disabilities, including those who have brain or spinal cord injuries such as cerebral palsy, children who have autism or military veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Montaudo's foster dog, Biscotti, and Kartiganer's foster dog, Hawkeye, accompany the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions students everywhere they go, including to classes, restaurants and football games. Hawkeye was even featured on the big screen at a University of Florida gymnastics meet.

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