Therapy dogs on campus offer students the opportunity to have a furry friend as their coping mechanism of choice. Here at Albion, there are four therapy dogs right on campus that are available to students: Kai, Kolt, Stevie Wonderful and Sunny.
“Usually, therapy dogs are dogs that go on visits and then they leave. Albion’s therapy dogs are embedded into life at the college. They become members of the community and less like special therapeutic guests,” said Ian MacInnes, a professor in the English department at Albion College.
Throughout Monday, Wednesday and Friday students can find a furry face on campus. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students can find also find a dog, but not as many hours.
Kai is a two-year-old golden doodle that can be spotted walking around campus almost every day. You can find Kai in his owner’s office, Dr. Suellyn Henke, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday throughout the day, in Olin Hall room 223.
“Whenever he’s in sight, you can pet him,” said Henke.
“Kai is literally the best. You can see the joy on people’s faces as they walk by, just from a glance and if people come into pet him, their day is immediately made better,” said Alexis Robinson, a sophomore from Agoura Hills, Calif.. “After a hard day, I always go to see Kai because there’s just something about the energy that he has that can really just turn the day around.”
As a mascot for the library, Kai is featured on the library staff’s T-shirts for this year. Henke has started offering library tours with Kai by her side, referred to as “kaibrary tours,” this semester as well. He leads current and prospective students on a tour of the library and students have the chance to enter a raffle to win a mini Kai stuffed animal.
“It was fun to see students gathered around him and having such a good time,” said Jill Mason, the mind behind Kaibrary tours. “They’re happy. He’s happy. Tails wagging.”
Kai has an Instagram, @kdoggggggg100, where updates on Kai’s life can be found.
Kolt is a six-year-old Aussie Shepherd/Blue Tic mix. You can find him in the campus safety office on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight. Monthly schedules are posted in the residential halls with detail times. There is a jar of treats in the Campus Safety office and Kolt will perform tricks for treats.
Although he might be sweet to students, Joann Wendling, campus safety officer and owner of Kolt, says that it’s not always fun and games with Kolt. Because he causes so much trouble at home, Kolt has been given the nickname “Knaughty Kolt” by Wendling. There’s even a Facebook page called “Knaughty Kolt,” which shares the stories of Kolt’s troublemaking with relatives who are out of state.
“He’s changing a little bit because he’s getting old. He has gotten slower at home,” said Wendling.
Stevie Wonderful is a three-year-old Australian Shepard. Stevie was born with a genetic defect that caused him to be blind.
Adopted about one year ago by MacInnes, Stevie is a new member of the Albion College community, Stevie also works with a therapy dog organization on some weekends.
“Stevie Wonderful lights up every room he walks into, and Albion’s campus wouldn’t be the same without him,” said Alicia Prause, a junior from Lawton, Mich.
Stevie can often be found in MacInnes’s office, located on the third floor of Vulgamore Hall, room 311. MacInnes encourages students to stop by his office or pet Stevie anytime they see him around on campus.
“He’s always on the job,” said MacInnes. “His job is to be petted.”
Stevie Wonderful has his own Instagram, @Steviewounderfuldog, where updates on his whereabouts can be found.
Sunny, owned by Renee Kreger, director of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program, is an eight-year-old beagle-corgi mix that is in the observatory every day on the second floor.
“Lately she’s become not a morning dog, so I tend to just bring her in the afternoon,” said Kreger.
With finals coming up Sunny will be in the observatory all day. She will also be going on more walks in the quad and will be spotted in the Kellogg Center more frequently. Sunny is outgoing and loves to be petted.
“As long as you pet her, you’re good to go,” said Kreger.
Sunny loves to look out the window and watch students. A people watcher, she will crawl on the arm of a couch or up on a chair propped up against the window to see students roaming the quad.
“She’s such a charismatic dog, and whenever I came up to the second floor of the honors building to write my thesis, she was right there next to me,” said Sunny Kim, senior from Midland, Mich..
When students go on break, Sunny notices. Kreger explained that Sunny will watch out the window and wait for students to pass by.
“Sunny will sit with you, but eventually she will push you off the couch. She’s a couch and chair hog,” said Kreger.