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Hall rectors’ pets brighten dorm life

| Monday, September 19, 2016

Of all the tearful goodbyes between students and their friends and family at the beginning of a new school year, one of the saddest is saying goodbye to the family pet.

But sometimes, students are welcomed to their on-campus phones by a furry friend, for rectors have the privilege of keeping a pet.

Keenan Hall rector Noel Terranova and his wife Jaclyn pose with their dog, The Goose, who lives with them in the dorm.Photo courtesy of Noel Terranova
Keenan Hall rector Noel Terranova and his wife Jaclyn pose with their dog, The Goose, who lives with them in the dorm.

“People will walk past him, stop, turn around and suddenly say, ‘Can I pet the dog?’” Carol Latronica, rector of Welsh Family Hall, said about her six-year-old labradoodle, Lucca.

In many dorms, dogs are some of the most popular residents.

“Everyone knows The Goose — he’s just one of the guys in Keenan,” Noel Terranova, the current rector of the hall, said of his dog.

If Terranova had to guess, he said The Goose is probably a mix of a boxer, a lab and a shepherd. Over the years, Terranova has trained a number of seeing-eye dogs for the organization Leader Dogs for the Blind — Bacon and Champion were well-loved by Keenan residents.

Students will often come by to spend time with The Goose, even taking him for walks, Terranova said.

“I’ll write a note on the whiteboard and leave the leash outside the door. … And they take him out — and it works great,” he said.

Visits to see The Goose often coincide with visits to see the rector.

“They stop by to see the dog, and then they end up talking to me,” Terranova said,

The same is often the case in Welsh Family Hall, Latronica said.

“People will come by and say ‘I need a dog fix, can I come in and see Lucca?’” she said. “Also, he’s good [for comfort], if people need to come in and talk to me about something.”

Amanda Springstead, the rector of Howard, has a special situation with her standard poodle, Lola. Since Springstead has family in South Bend, Lola stays with them and visits Howard every other week.

“I host ‘Cookies with Lola’ whenever she is here,” she said. “People come and pet Lola and chat about their days.”

Rules need to be set when rectors have pets, Terranova said. Certain issues, such as allergy concerns, need to be addressed.

“If [The Goose] wants to roam the building, I trained him not to go into students’ rooms,” Terranova said. “I never allow the dogs in my office, so it’s a space where guys can meet with me.”

Although Lucca and Lola are hypoallergenic, hall staff still needs to be considerate of residents, Springstead said.

“Lola is always on a leash,” she said. “She’ll go in the other room if someone needs to see me, or I’ll meet [them] in my office.”

All three of the rectors said any student who feels uncomfortable about the dogs is encouraged to come and speak with them to find a resolution.

As for whether other rectors should get pets — often a request made by residents — it’s all up to the rector, Terranova said.

“A dog is a lifetime commitment. … At the beginning and the end of the entire proposition, there is one human that will take care of [the dog] for its whole life — not a group of students,” he said. “When it gets cold, I don’t see guys taking the dog for a walk.”

Despite the difficulties, animals bring something special to the dorm community, Terranova added.

“[The Goose’s] best buddies in Keenan are the housekeepers,” he said. “He knows exactly when their breaks are, and he runs [to each] and gets a treat, and they love it.”

It’s just one more thing that makes the residence halls feel like home, Springstead said.

“Every time [Lola] leaves, she is so exhausted. This is more excitement than she’s used to,” she said. “She’ll go home to my family and sleep all the next day.”

And for many, a little time with a dog makes the day a little brighter, Latronica said.

“[Lucca] loves to smile,” she said. “I’ll have him in the lobby, and people will go up to him and say, ‘Do you have a smile for me?’”

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