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Exceptional Aggies: Aggie sisters training service dogs for veterans, kids and adults in need

The Gellhausen sisters are from San Antonio and are attending Texas A&M University to study to become veterinarians.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — KAGS' Exceptional Aggie Series is all about Aggies going above and beyond in service to the community. When it comes to service, you don't have to look far to find Elise and Katherine Gellhausen.

The Texas A&M sisters from San Antonio are studying in the university's veterinarian program. They are working with Canine Companions, an organization that provides service dogs to adults, children and disabled veterans.

The sisters said their love for animals goes back all the way to their childhood and when it came time to go to college, Texas A&M was the natural choice.

"This is just where we wanted to go, we both want to be vets," Katherine said.

Elise and Katherine have trained several dogs and have taught them dozens of commands to prepare them to become service dogs for those who need them.

They are currently training Amber, a 4-month-old black lab and golden retriever mix.

"She definitely is a lot of fun to train," Katherine said. "She's definitely one of those dogs who really loves to work, and some dogs pick up things fast and she's always ready to go."

After the sisters have trained Amber with thirty commands, they said Amber will hopefully move on to advanced training where she will learned more specialized skills to assist those in need. Knowing those basic commands will help Amber succeed in the next part of the program, Elise said.

"Each dog is different, they each have their ups and downs and sometimes something will pop up later that's never been an issue when they were younger, so just working through so that way we can get them to where they need to be."

Canine Companions provides dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities at no cost. Even the follow-up services are free. Elise and Katherine said it all comes back to serving the community.

"At first it was like oh my gosh there are these students who get to take dogs to class, and it looks like so much fun, but once you get more involved with it you realize how much more it is," Elise said.