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University students raise money for dogs

JUD, N.D. (AP) -- Students from Minnesota State University, Moorhead sold pickles to raise more than $2,000 for a North Dakota center that trains assistance dogs.

The campaign was called "Pickles for Paws." The money will go to the Great Plains Dog Assistance Foundation in Jud.

"Every penny is incredibly valuable," said trainer Sharon Raugutt, who works with 20 assistance dogs. "I had no idea the class was going to do this. It touched my heart."

The 19 students in Liz Conmy's public relations class started the campaign after they heard the Jud center needed to replace a roof and needed money for such things as a laptop computer and dog blankets.

The students sold nearly 480 jars of pickles, making $2,267.75.

"Is that not bizarre?" Conmy asked. "They heard I had these pickles sitting in my living room and they said, 'We could sell them for the dogs."'

The Great Plains Assistance Dogs Foundation helps disabled people become more independent with the help of trained and certified assistance dogs.

Raugutt had visited the Moorhead class in November, seeking help with a public relations campaign. The students decided to do more.

"It didn't really feel like a project after a while," said senior Carrie Hubbard. "We were doing it for more than that."

With more than 400 quarts of pickles, the students set out on a labeling and selling adventure. The jars sold for $5 apiece.

"I almost started crying because I was so floored and so grateful for the students," Raugutt said.

"We are in need of a new roof," she said. "We'd also like a laptop and a projector so we can do PowerPoint presentations."

The students needed a public relations plan to sell pickles, Conmy said, so they got that experience from the project as well.

"They fell in love with the dogs and the program," Conmy said. "They so took it and ran with it."