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ACE Project - A Success Story

Picture of Baron, a white lab, sitting with his red collar and harness on.Iowa State University’s ACE Project opened a world of opportunities to the two-year-old yellow lab affectionately named Baron after being found astray in the cornfields near Council Bluffs, Iowa. The Ace Project partners with Midlands Humane Society to bring opportunities for students to work with foster dogs, like Baron, with behaviors that aren’t suited to life in the shelter. 

Last semester, Danielle Pape received the opportunity to foster Baron through the Project, a student group she has been involved in since the Spring of 2022, her junior year. When Pape first met Baron, she knew he had something special, but as a high-energy and high-anxiety dog, she wasn’t sure if a typical family life would suit him.  

While working with Baron through the semester, Pape found it was hard to compare his progress to other dogs in the project. Social situations were the hardest for Baron, where he struggled with being able to focus or settle down, which made classes a challenge, but once comfortable, Pape found that he would listen well. When Cheryl Morris, the ACE Project Director, approached Pape and Baron with the opportunity to do some scent work, Pape knew it would be a great fit.  

In November of 2022, Baron went to train with Iowa K9 Detection, where he excelled in the program. Baron is now employed with the Montgomery County Sherriff’s Office in Ohio to do scent work, specifically bomb detection.  

Baron is just one of the success stories to come out of the ACE Project. When Pape was asked how the project helped get Baron to where he is today, she explained, “Giving him the opportunity to come out of the shelter allowed him to show us all who he is, a brilliant dog who needed a chance to be seen, something he likely wouldn’t have received in the shelter.”

 The ACE project also allows students to train and socialize future service dogs by partnering with Retrieving Freedom. In addition, it provides students and the public with canine obedience and agility classes for their personal dogs. If this program is something that interests you, please contact Cheryl Morris at to see how you can get involved.