I had just opened my office door after teaching an hour-long independent study when the student photo editor hurried in.
Marianne typically visits my office several times a day. She has worked four years for the student media staff I advise, and I’m her professor and academic adviser. She often crosses the hall between the Newsroom and my office to chat about work, classes, internships, riding horses (her hobby), or her summer wedding (to the former student editor-in-chief, but that’s another post). I’ve advised Marianne on a lot of issues. I still was unprepared for her morning announcement.
“There’s a dog in the Newsroom,” she said.
As I attempted to process the information, Marianne launched into the story about how the dog ran in the back door, down the hall of classrooms, and through our department before it darted into the Newsroom.
Students noticed the dog had a collar, called the provided veterinarian’s line, retrieved a number for the owner, and called and left a message that the dog had been found.
This surprisingly is where the problem arose. The owner wasn’t home, Marianne had class, and there was a large-but-sweet Labrador mix chillin’ in the Newsroom.
Oh, did I mention that no pets are allowed on campus, let alone in an academic building?
“I don’t know what to do with her,” Marianne said. “But she’s so sweet.”
Uh-huh. Sweet until she bites someone and gives them rabies. Sweet until she scares our poor columnist who is terrified of dogs. Sweet until the dean happens to mosey by and see our new Newsroom mascot.
I called campus police to relay our tale and see if they could find a place to keep the dog, whose name tag said “Heidi,” until her owner called. They had no place for her, and said their only option would be to call a city animal control officer to pick her up and take her to the shelter.
I know Marianne well. There was no way I was going to convince her to let this dog go to a shelter. And, let’s be honest, I’m a total dog softy. I didn’t want Heidi to go to the pound either. Have you seen how sad dogs look behind those shelter bars?
Fortunately, I am friends with a woman in our campus facilities department who is probably a bigger dog lover than Marianne and I combined. I also had seen photos on Facebook of a dog the department’s workers found and crated until its owner could be located. She wasn’t in her office, but her coworkers were kind enough to fetch our big friend and give her a temporary home. So they came without a leash (because why would you need one on a campus where animals aren’t allowed?), scurried Heidi by the collar onto their golf cart and gave her a ride across campus. Let’s just say that Heidi got the full campus tour.
The dog’s owner called as Marianne made plans to take Heidi to a shelter if necessary. The school teacher had no idea how his dog escaped the back yard fence, but he was thrilled that she’d come to college and would be returned. He arranged to meet Marianne (who will have someone else with her–insert the “Stranger Danger” lecture I gave her here) at a local shopping mall to pick up Amelia.
Yep, that’s right–Amelia, not Heidi. Apparently this dog didn’t know that pseudonyms are unacceptable in journalism. She provided the wrong name.
They seriously don’t prepare you for this kind of thing in adviser training.
I guess it could be worse. Back in the ’80s the students were letting a homeless person sleep in Newsroom.
I promise they don’t prepare you for that in adviser training!