ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – Samantha Machmer is putting her best foot forward in the classroom, and now as a puppy raiser.

She is training a future service dog named Farmer, a six-month-old black Labrador retriever with Susquehanna Service Dogs in Grantville.

His future is to help those in need whether it be with psychiatric support, seizure response, autistic assistance and more.

Machmer is a full-time student majoring in occupational therapy. She will train Farmer for 18 months before he takes on a new adventure.

She’s the first Elizabethtown College student to ever take on this task.

“This is a pilot program that we worked on for awhile. It’s my hope that I’ll be the first of many puppy raisers at E-Town,” Machmer said.

She says there are three or four other students interested in being puppy raisers.

Right now, Farmer is learning basic manners and foundational cues. He’s still a puppy, but his improvement is noticeable.

“He has made such leaps and bounds,” Machmer said.

Machmer understands the importance of service dogs and what they can offer.

“Dogs change lives,” she said. “He could really turn somebody’s life around and give them their independence.”

If you are someone you know is interested in becoming a puppy raiser for Susquehanna Service Dogs, click here.