Furry and Friendly Welcome Back to School

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. -- Colleges in our area have all sorts of different ways to welcome students back to campus. At Lock Haven University, students, administrators, and professors came together with their four-legged friends for some campus bonding.

It's hard to imagine a better way to be welcomed back to campus than with a parade of puppies.

The university has scheduled dog walks to break the ice between canines and humans.

"It attracts people because they're like, 'Oh, that's such a cute dog!' Then you can introduce yourself to them," said Tara Reese, a sophomore at Lock Haven.

"When people have dogs and they're walking dogs they react more naturally. It's just easier to be friendly with someone you wouldn't ordinarily interact with," said Ted Nuttall, a Lock Haven University professor.

Lock Haven University was the first school in the state to have a pet-friendly residence hall just last year. And now, the school has scheduled dog walks. President of Lock Haven University Robert Pignatello came up with the idea for "Yappy Hour."

"Pets and dogs are one of the common denominators of life. Like food and music, everyone loves their pets, so we have a mixture here of dog owners who are students, who are staff, who are community members," Pignatello explained.

That's right, students, professors, and even alumni walk their dogs together.

Brett Arnold graduated last year, and he came prepared for the mile-long walk with his pooch.

"My dog doesn't have a lot of stamina. He's carrying around a lot of weight on four-inch legs," Arnold said.

People we spoke to say having a campus full of four-legged friends takes the edge off of academic life.

"Last couple of semesters I'd see lots of dogs on campus, and it's like a really good stress reliever to be able to before a test go pet a dog," Arnold added.

At the end of the walk, dogs were given a treat and dog owners were treated to a presentation by veterinarian Robert Reese about how to keep your canine in top shape on campus. He says the social hour is good for both dog lovers and dogs.

"They just like to be around people, so animals love to be social. That's what it's all about. I think it's a win-win," said Reese.

There is one more dog walk scheduled for the semester. It's in October and you guessed it; it's Halloween themed.

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