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Fowle friends!

Carrie Yang '27

May 10, 2024

Students who live in Fowle Hall are no strangers to one of the most rewarding aspects of a boarding experience—dorm pets! These four-legged friends have found their way into the hearts of students, creating a welcoming atmosphere within the dormitory walls.

Fowle dorm dean Sarah O’Leary’s German Shepherd is a dorm favorite. “Her name is Juno Marie O’Leary, she is ten years old. I was there when she was born, and she is the puppy of my mom’s dog. We’ve been together ever since,” said O’Leary. “I used to live in Texas. I would get home from work. I would take her and go to the park that I lived across the street from, and we would climb onto the playground, and she would sit there and watch birds, while I did grad school homework.” 

About the joy of sharing Juno with her dorm residents, O’Leary added, “I think a lot of people love pets and miss their pets at home.”  Prefect Elizabeth Orders returned the favor, saying, “I love it when Ms. O'Leary brings her dog Juno to duty! Having pets around makes the dorm feel like home."

Dorm resident Teagan Mewett ’27 shared her thoughts on dorm pets, saying: “I love how I get to see animals because I have pets at home and it reminds me of my dogs.” Conversely, Piper Matthias ’26 said, “I’m actually not a fan of dorm pets because I don’t like dogs, and dogs seem to be a common animal running around. I don’t like it when they let them off the leash, it bothers me. Other than that, they’re sweet. I see some cats sitting in windows and it makes my day.”

Just like students, dorm faculty also recognize the benefits pets bring to dorm life.

College counselor Rachel Mallory, who is also the assistant dorm dean in Fowle, said, “Fowle dorm pets tend to be a good de-stress moment for students who are going through a hard time. Students go through a lot of stress throughout their four years here. Or from being away from their families for the first time. Pets always tend to be a good way for students and faculties to bond and have a casual conversation. Fowle is a pretty big dorm, and instead of making it like a strict organization, we want to make it more cozy so that students feel like they are at home.” 

Spanish teacher and dorm resident Christopher McSweeney added, “Sometimes not everybody wants to play with faculty kids, and it might be nice to have a puppy next to you. Pets round out the home feel we should be providing.” He went on to say, “There’s tons of research on how having a dog near you lowers your heart rate, increases blood flow, increases oxytocin, and decreases stress.”  Elise Gao ’26 agreed, though she was less scientific about it: “I really love having dorm pets around. They really bring up the mood and make the dorms feel more homey.”

Chris Duffy, outdoor education director and dorm resident, has two cats, Echo and Clementine. They serve a purpose that goes beyond just enriching dorm life. “Echo is really good in emergency situations. During fire drills, he is usually right there making sure people get out of the dorm quickly and no one uses the elevator. Clementine has a big heart: when I get home from duty on Thursday nights, she always asks how the students are doing. She really wants to know if anyone is having a hard time so she can send ‘positive vibes’ their way. Her words, not mine.”

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