More and more four-legged students seem to be strutting their stuff around campus lately. Their manes glisten in the piercing sunlight, their ears are constantly perked, and their tails, well, they never stop wagging. Seriously though, lately it seems like the dog population around campus has a head count high enough to fill an entire class roster, maybe even two.
“I like when I see students walking their dogs, it’s cute,” said senior Rachel Leard.
There’s no doubt about it, dogs can be seen almost anywhere. Whether it’s walking through campus, hanging their heads out car windows or in the buildings from time to time, you can’t miss them.
Junior Jake Rick enjoys walking his 7-month-old golden retriever, Maverick, through campus on occasion.
“It’s beneficial for his health, and it’s nice for him to interact with all the people,” Rick said. “He loves all the attention.”
Students, however, are not the only ones who enjoy canine companionship.
Aquatics director and head field hockey and women’s lacrosse coach Tammy Landon, became a new dog owner this past summer. Her 10-month-old yellow Labrador/golden retriever mix, Harley, was seen down on the field hockey field running alongside the team on many separate occasions last fall.
“I think it’s a privilege to not only own a dog, but to bring your dog anywhere in public,” said Landon.
It’s quite clear that dogs have been walked around campus, and sometimes people don’t need to actually see the physical dog to know it has been there.
Yes, gross, but true.
Some dog owners haven’t been very considerate when it comes to cleaning up after their pets.
“Nobody likes to step in dog poop,” Rick said, “and when someone does, it makes us owners look irresponsible.”
Landon feels just as strong about the situation.
“I think it is the absolute responsibility of the owner (to clean up after their dog) in public places,” she said. “Not picking up after your dog is very inconsiderate of the space we all share.”
Professor Sanjukta Ghosh shares the same opinion as Landon.
“I would pick up after my dog if it was required – absolutely, without question.”
Ghosh’s well-known 10-year-old beagle mix, Shaaromayo, was actually trained to do her doggie business in the bushes, which is convenient.
“Trail walking is what she prefers,” said Ghosh as she began to laugh.
Being a dog owner has both its ups and downs.
“It’s a different experience,” said sophomore John Shramek, who owns a 6-month-old golden retriever named Ace. “I expected it to be a lot harder; once the training’s done we get to have more fun.”
Having an abundance of time and energy is crucial to raising and taking care of a dog.
“Everyone needs to realize how much of a commitment a dog is,” Landon said, “and owners have many responsibilities.”
With spring on the horizon, dogs are sure to be in full bloom. The warm weather in the near future will draw dogs and owners alike outdoors. But for owners who don’t exactly feel like braving the mosquitoes and deer flies that inhabit the woods, packing an extra plastic bag before heading out the door does the trick.