top of page


Lucas Chen '27

May 10, 2024

Sometimes called the first-ever friends of human beings, pets play an essential role in most people’s lives across cultures. They help combat loneliness, lower stress levels, and improve mental health, even in the Mercersburg community.

  Tippetts Hall is a pet-friendly dorm, and there are a total of six faculty pets. Among them, Riggie, Grace, and Ren are student favorites. Matthew Jacobs, dorm dean of Tippetts Hall, stated, “Pets definitely make it feel more like home. I know a lot of kids have pets back home, and having that experience here, being away from home, really makes you feel like you are feeling back home, being able to enjoy the pets and the comfort. It really just gives them the sensation of home away from home.” 

Riggie, a two-year-old Golden Retriever, is one of the two dogs, along with Reese, a mini labradoodle, belonging to the Jacobs family. Jacobs explained the joy he derives from his pets: “I think just having them be goofy together and always in a good mood cheers me up every time I see them coming home from work.” 

The students share similar feelings as the owners. Preston Zhang ‘27 said, “Riggie really likes to come inside my room a lot. One time, he took a tennis ball I had found in the Hale Field House. He grabbed that from my room, and I couldn’t get it out of his mouth; it was kind of funny.” Riggie is particularly loved for her friendly nature and her willingness to play with every student.

The McKevitt family, also of Tippetts Hall, has two pets: a cat, Grace, and a dog, Diego. Both are five years old. Glenn McKevitt noted the students’ love for his pets. “Yeah, especially Grace. She is always outside; students stop all the time to pet her, and she’s really sociable. Sometimes, she ends up somewhere in the dorm, too.” Grant Kurmakov ‘25 agreed and commented, “Grace’s beautiful blue eyes caught me in a trance. Her striking gaze and adorable ‘meow’ took me back to my pets at home. Having her around Tippetts contributes to the dorm culture and she really makes my quality of life better.” 

Three-year-old, Ren, part Catahoula Leopard, and eleven-month-old May, part Beagle and part Pomeranian, are the two dogs of the Heffron family. Rich Heffron said, “The best memories are of them hanging out with our son, Jude. Particularly the older dog Ren. Whenever Jude gets upset, she will go over to him and put her head in his lap. Those are the wonderful memories, especially watching how the dogs look out for others.” Students are often willing to help out pet owners by walking them to compensate for missing their own pets back home. 

Clearly, students and faculty members think pets play a key role in creating a dorm culture and bringing positive vibes. Haris Yahaya ‘24 said, “Frankly, I think it has gone pretty well. It’s really nice interacting with the dogs on duty and the faculty, you know. I think it creates a better dorm environment overall.” 

In sum, these dorm pets in Tippetts Halls contribute to both the well-being of its residents and the dorm culture which ultimately enhances the boarding experience.

bottom of page