When August Shah, ‘19, walks into a room with his puppy Daisy in his arms, she immediately becomes the center of attention. At Alice’s before our interview, an entire table of folks gets up and showers the excited pup with attention, oo-ing and ah-ing.
“This is the cutest dog I’ve ever seen in my life,” someone comments.
“She’s so soft. I love her so much,” says someone else.
After a few minutes, August is able to sit down with me. “She loves it all – the attention, the people, other animals – absolutely loves it. She likes getting away from home for a bit too.”
Daisy is August’s pet and emotional support animal. “It’s actually kind of funny. I was supposed to get a different puppy, but due to a mix-up, that one was already gone. I don’t mind though. When I saw Daisy I knew she was the one for me. I was so lucky that the name ‘Daisy’ fit her, because I’d already fallen in love with the name too.”
Daisy is a three-month-old Shih-tzu/Poodle mix, commonly called a Shih-poo. She’s brown in color and her fur is curly, a dead giveaway to her poodle lineage. She’s small and can easily fit in cupped hands. Daisy’s breeder mistreated her, but she is now living happily with August off campus. As a puppy, she sleeps most of the day. In fact, she’s only awake for about four hours each day. When she’s not sleeping, she’s playing. When I met her a week ago, her favorite toy was a bright green stuffed animal frog, with long legs perfect for a game of tug-of-war. Now, though, she prefers tennis balls.
“She likes being able to move them around and chase them,” says August. “She’ll also jump up a bit and flip over with her toy and wrestle it a little. It’s super cute to watch.”
To train her, August uses a combination of toys and affection. “She hates treats,” he says. “She loves love. She’s potty trained, crate trained, and we’re working on getting her to sit. She gets super excited and hyper sometimes, so it can be hard to get her to sit still.”
“I love her. She’s the most lovable, playful puppy you’ll ever meet. She’s brought a lot more joy into my life and has made everything so much brighter. I wouldn’t say she’s fully relieved me of stress, because puppies can be a handful, but she’s made me so much happier.”
There are many dogs on campus, but unlike some of the other animals at Goucher, dogs don’t appear to have a ‘club.’ There are no events specific to dogs, where dog owners and their pups can socialize and play. There are ‘school’ dogs, of course, such as ACE’s Lucy, but perhaps a small, dog-specific event is called for, which would allow everyone to enjoy their company.
For now, though, Daisy is content with surprise appearances at Alice’s and around campus. On warm, sunny days, she and August can occasionally be found at the picnic table in the Residential Quad next to construction, he working on schoolwork and she napping.