Dog-friendly campus offering a paws experience for La Salle students

Madison Griffin, 25, is the guardian pupil of the pupscot Angus de La Salle, an English bulldog.

At La Salle, dogs (and other four-legged friends) are welcome and often accompany students on campus.

Having a furry companion on campus has been a rewarding experience for La Salle University students.

Ask Madison Griffin, 25, from Philadelphia. The freshman majoring in political science, philosophy and economics loves dogs.

This is why she became a student guardian or handler for the pupscot Angus de La Salle, an English bulldog. Angus has occupied the La Salle campus since 2019, when the University became the first in the Philadelphia area to introduce a dog-friendly residence hall. Since then, the dogs (and other four-legged friends) have become regulars at La Salle, accompanying students on Hansen Quads, in halls of residence and elsewhere.

In particular, Angus has become a fixture at college events. He welcomed prospective students to campus and helped cheer on explorers from the bleachers of TruMark Financial Center’s Tom Gola Arena. Angus the dog

Pets, in many ways, can serve as emotional support for students navigating new environments and experiences, said Gabrielle St. Léger, Ed.D, vice president of student development and campus life at The room.

“Pets are an incredible way to address issues of coping with La Salle and managing anxiety,” St. Leger said. “Furthermore, pets serve as a connector and builder of friendships at the university. We are glad we were able to provide a space where furry friends are welcome.

What’s it like to have a pet dog on a college campus? We asked Griffin.

What did you like about being Angus’ manager?

“I saw the opportunity to apply to be the manager of Angus on the University’s Office of Residence Life Instagram and thought it would be a really cool thing to do.”

What is the experience like?

“It has been gratifying, I would say. At first it was stressful learning about a new environment, but now current students know who I am and know my room. They come to my room and want to see us. I take her for walks around the North Hall complex and in the courtyard. It’s good; the students come up to me to pet it. Angus is so excited about the students.

How do you balance the responsibility of Angus with your academics?

“Sometimes I take Angus with me to class. He’s so well known on campus, and that makes things a little easier. It is also the best study partner.

Was it hard being a freshman and full-time pet owner?
A. “Having Angus on campus has been so good for my mental health. If I wasn’t feeling well or felt overwhelmed, Angus would always nudge me for a hug or a scratch on my forehead.

What does a typical day look like with Angus?

“Angus loves to nap, but he really enjoys taking daily walks and playing on campus. My friends and I will take a ball and throw it at Angus. Exercising every day is really important for her overall health. Also, I make sure he eats throughout the day. He loves carrots and apples. His favorite candy is the apple. I pick them up at Blue and Gold Dining Hall or EatWell in the Union.

Who are Angus’ closest friends on campus?

“He loves every student on campus! He is also very fond of my other dog Brian, who sometimes comes for visits. He looks forward to going out and meeting new friends, especially when the weather warms up.

What advice would you give to a student considering having a dog or pet on campus?

“Living with Angus or among the other students with dogs. It was such a wonderful experience. Although it was a lot of responsibility, it taught me many valuable lessons that I don’t think I would have learned if I hadn’t been his master.

—Shea Wright

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