Introducing the newest member of the Salve Regina family…
In the coming months, the campus community will meet the newest member of the Salve Regina family: a 5-month-old Labrador retriever who has been selected as the University’s first-ever community resource dog. The puppy will be making short visits to campus to become acclimated to his new home, and he will then take up permanent residence in Tobin Hall as a member of the Office of Safety and Security once he has completed his training. It is expected that he will be on hand to welcome new and returning students for the fall 2021 semester.
Salve Regina’s community resource dog will work alongside security officers to promote student engagement and offer comfort during stressful times. Dogs’ innate ability to sense anxiety and sadness is well-documented, and studies have shown that interacting with dogs can have a positive effect on physical and emotional well-being. Pet therapy stress busters held each semester have proven to reduce anxiety and provide a deeper connection to the University.
While the puppy will be “on duty” as he visits with students, it is anticipated that he will become a celebrity of sorts, both on campus and in the greater community. Michelle Caron, security officer, will be taking on the role of primary handler and will have full responsibility for the dog, assisting with veterinary appointments, grooming and continued training. She will also facilitate requests for special appearances at games, campus events and community outreach programs.
“I am excited to welcome our new puppy and to get started with this amazing program. It is a great opportunity to connect with students in a different way, get to know them better and bring the Salve community together,” said Caron.
The puppy will be the first campus community resource dog among higher education institutions in Rhode Island. Michael Caruolo, director of safety and security, presented the idea to University leadership as a way to encourage positive interactions between his officers and students.
“I’m thrilled that President Armstrong and our administration are willing to invest in such a worthwhile program,” said Caruolo. “In addition to encouraging community engagement, our dog will help calm people and de-escalate situations so our officers can effectively provide assistance. During investigations, the dog can help reduce stress and anxiety, while increasing communication. Community resource dogs are becoming increasingly popular on college campuses across the country. The dog’s constant presence around our campus will contribute to the positive student experience here at Salve.”
Name that puppy
For now, the puppy needs a name. Students are invited to submit suggestions on what to call Salve Regina’s furry friend by April 13 and a list for consideration will be selected from the entries, followed by campus-wide voting from April 14-20 to choose his name. To submit a name idea, use the form here.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the newest addition to our Salve family,” says Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong, president. “We are known for our warm and supportive environment, and what could be more comforting than a puppy? And we could certainly use some happy news these days. I can’t wait to see our puppy on campus and am excited to hear the students’ naming ideas.”