A student pets Sadie, a fluffy blonde wheaten terrier/poodle mix. (Photography by Claire Zulkey)
All the president’s dog
Students find their moment of zen thanks to some fuzzy friends at Wellapalooza.
There were lots of activities to linger over at Wellapallooza, the Health Promotion and Wellness–sponsored festival on the main quad in mid-October, and not just the “for your own good!” tables that proclaimed physical fitness, personal safety, and responsible drinking (a “be your own bartender” table gave students the chance to measure out the appropriate quantities of a shot, glass of wine, beer, etc.). A make-your-own-trail mix buffet was crowded, as were the chairs for free massages and flu shots, not to mention a pumpkin-decorating table. Parents would be pleased to know that a mailbox available for students to write free postcards home looked to be filling up quickly. But I came for the dogs. And I wasn’t the only one. “Aaw!” I heard more than once as numerous students crouched down to acquaint themselves with the big, small, fluffy, and smooth pups available for petting. Linda Tartof, AM’83, from the Student Counseling Service and owner of Tank, a small dark cockapoo, helps coordinate a twice-yearly student-dog summit with Hyde Park pups and their owners. “Everybody misses their dog,” she says. “I’m not sure they miss their parents as much.” I was drawn to Sadie, a fluffy blonde wheaten terrier/poodle mix, who, like the others, seemed friendly and calm. “It’s important to get dogs that behave well,” her owner Michelle explained. “This type of environment could be stressful.” Not for the students, though. “I’m so happy right now!” I heard one student exclaim. “I have a black lab at home, where I also volunteer for an animal shelter,” another told me. “I miss this.”
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"965","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"344","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Yoder smiles for the camera. (Photography by Claire Zulkey)
Quietly, someone took me aside. “Do you know who that is?” I was directed to a big amiable Greater Swiss Mountain dog wearing the official orange Wellapalooza week t-shirt. “That’s the president’s dog.” I made my way over and introduced myself to Yoder and his human, Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, who gamely tried to get Yoder to pose for a good photo for me, although he was slightly distracted by the constituents lined up to pet him. All in a dog day’s work.