Most new employees bring a framed photo of their family or their favorite coffee mug to make their workspace feel personalized. Driven to work each day by his mom, Campus Safety’s newest member arrived with a fluffy blanket, a bright pink pig toy and a freshly embroidered bandana.
The 4-year-old Australian Shepard and Bluetick mix, Kolt, is the new therapy dog at Campus Safety.
Kolt’s mom, Campus Safety dispatcher Joann Wendling said, “We noticed there have been quite a few students who bring their own [Emotional Support Animals]. The idea kind of came up and Ken [Snyder, Director of Campus Safety] goes, ‘Well I would like to have a therapy dog here if we knew of a dog that would be willing to do it.’”
Wendling immediately suggested her dog and so the time-consuming process of getting Kolt “therapy dog-approved” began around this time last year.
It started with finding an obedience class and dog trainer that worked well with the Wendling and Kolt. After trying two different classes, they found one that worked and spent last year completing it.
Then there was testing to become a registered therapy dog including the Canine Good Citizens test, which tested Kolt’s temperament. Is he friendly? Nervous? Mean? Before the final test, Kolt and Wendling went on three visits with a trainer to a nursing home to make sure he was willing to socialize instead of staying to himself.
After passing, Kolt was finally welcomed to campus.
Flyers can be found around campus with the dates through the end of February saying when Kolt is available. The flyers will be replaced close to the end of February with March and April dates he will be in. Typically, on those days it will be from 4 p.m. to midnight.
For those missing Kolt on the days he is gone, his crazy puppy antics can be found online at Knaughty Kolt on Facebook and at CampusSafetyKolt on Instagram.
Photo by Katie Boni