February 26, 2024

Schoolcraft College bringing comfort dogs to campus later this year

lab puppy wearing bow

Five comfort dogs will arrive later this spring, with their goal to reduce stress and improve mental health across campus.

Schoolcraft College is grrrrr-owing.

The College will add five new, unique employees to its ranks later this year. These new members of the Schoolcraft College family are not your typical employees, however: these new helpers each have four legs and plenty of fur.

Dubbed the Campus Comfort Companions, these new helpers are comfort dogs, designed to serve several roles at the College. These dogs – currently being raised and trained at Lucky Labs in Chatham-Kent, Ontario – will arrive later this spring and begin additional training with their handlers.

Before the pooches arrive, the College is reaching out to the community for its help: naming each of the five dogs via an online poll taking place this week.

Polls will open on the College’s Instagram account this Tuesday, Feb. 27, with options for names for all five dogs. Four names per dog will be available to vote on during a 24-hour period. A list of the names, along with background information on them and the person who will be their handler, can be found below.

The puppies will receive several weeks of Lab Puppy Training when they are eight weeks old. They will be delivered to campus when they are 12 weeks old later this spring. As they become accustomed to their new homes, the puppies will receive advanced obedience training at a local training facility.

The puppies will begin as “in-training” comfort dogs by the start of the fall semester.

“These new comfort dogs will serve a vital role here at Schoolcraft College when they arrive. Their presence will bring smiles to faces and help our students and staff take a moment to simply recharge and rejuvenate with fun-loving energy that only a dog can bring,” said Dr. Glenn Cerny, President of Schoolcraft College. “We’re looking forward to having them on campus and enhancing the lives of our students, faculty and staff.”

Full integration into campus by next year

Once the dogs hit their first birthdays, they will receive therapy dog training and certification. After that, they will become full members of the campus community.

After their training, they will be available for visits and events across campus. That includes assisting students in reducing stress, especially around finals. Their goal is to help improve mental health and increase compassion on campus.

“Each dog will be assigned to a Schoolcraft College police officer who is responsible for their care on campus and in their home each night,” said Colleen Pilgrim, a psychology professor and faculty liaison to the Campus Comfort Companion program. “Each officer will be matched with a staff or faculty handler who will coordinate additional comfort dog interactions with our Schoolcraft community.”

The dogs are being paid for through the generosity of the Schoolcraft College Foundation.

The new pups will continue the College’s mission to create a welcoming campus for students, faculty and staff. Fulfilling part of the College’s Strategic Plan, these new comfort companions will connect not just with the campus but with the greater community as well.

HOW TO VOTE: Members of the public are invited to visit the College’s Instagram page, @schoolcraftnow, starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27. The polls can be viewed through the “Stories” section and users can select their pick using the poll function. The College will then announce the winners at a later date. A full list of the finalist names can be found below.

row of puppy labs

Dog Names

Chief Mark Engstrom

Lottie – A play on “Ocelot,” the college’s nickname.

Scout – I’m the father of four daughters. Scout is the strong female lead in To Kill a Mockingbird and was one of their early heroines.

Roux – This is a culinary-related term. Roux is a mixture that thickens sauces, and we just liked the sound of it.

Sage – Another culinary related term. Sage is an herb that has a grayish/green color.  It’s also a term to describe a wise person with sound judgment.

Lt. Matthew Mayes

Liv – An acronym for “life is valuable” and short for Livonia.

Dolly – It means “beloved” and references Dolly Parton a great humanitarian and country singer.

Lu Lu – For Lieutenant and Hawaiian roots, it means, “peaceful,” “protected,” and “calm.”

Copper – Loyalty and protection, also for chemistry.

Sgt. Carla Murray

Starla – The comfort dog program was conceived while I was attending an astronomy class at the college, it also rhymes with my name and sounds fun and sparkly.

Justice – A shoutout to the Schoolcraft Collee criminal justice program, because myself and two of my children are proud graduates, and my husband and I both graduated from the college’s police academy.

Vista – Derives from the college’s beautiful Vistatech Center.  Vista means: A beautiful view and future possibilities.

Cocoa – Matches the puppy’s beautiful brown chocolate color.

Sgt. Randy Lorenzetti

Mocha – Based on getting a chocolate lab this goes with the color of the dog.

Maple – Based on the dog coming from Canada & the maple leaf on their flag.

Maisy – Based on the Schoolcraft colors of blue and yellow/gold/maize.

Belle – Based on the bell tower symbol of Schoolcraft College that sits near the library.

Sgt. Kenneth Losey

Teddy – Named after the famous “Teddy Bear” that was named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt. My kids have always loved to snuggle with teddy bears at night due to the comfort they bring. One of the tasks of the brown chocolate therapy dog coming to Schoolcraft College is to bring comfort.

Dash – Named after the Disney character “Dash” that stared in the movie, “The Incredibles.”

Rowe – A name referencing Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the namesake of the College

Hops –  In honor of the brewery program at Schoolcraft College. Hops is the flower of the plant used in making beer.

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