From the editor:

Going to the dogs

Sept. 24, 2014

Some days are just tough—we all have them. I’ve had days where I worked 12 hours straight and others where I messed something up at work. I’ve had days where everything seemed to go wrong from spilling coffee on myself to falling out the front door of my building. I’ve had scary days when I’ve had surgery and horribly sad days when I’ve lost someone I love.

Yet the second I open the door to my house, sweet soulful brown eyes and a wagging tail make even the hardest days better. Molly, Molly the border collie (mix) loves me unconditionally. She’s always excited to see me. She’s thrilled to go on a walk and she’s just as delighted to go back in the house. She loves rides and new destinations but is just as happy to come home. She’s content to sit next to me and be petted but always willing to get up and play with her Hairy Haggis toys.

She makes me proud when she shows how smart she is and makes me laugh when she acts silly. She lets me put her in a Spartan cape or a pumpkin costume and gently greets trick-or-treaters on the porch. She doesn’t chew things, run out of the yard and she won’t take anything, not even steak, unless she’s specifically told it’s OK. She’s loyal and incredibly sweet. Basically, she’s the perfect dog. No, really. She is.

Almost 13 years ago, my husband called me to tell me I had to meet him at the Capital Area Humane Society because he found the perfect dog. I have no idea why he decided to stop there that day, as we weren’t seriously looking for a dog. And yet, fate stepped in and brought our family such joy. Sure, vet bills can be pricey, we have to clean up the yard and it’s a rare occasion I don’t have a stray hair on my clothes (Molly especially loves to cuddle anyone in black) but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. She really does make every day infinitely better.

To paraphrase Charles Schultz, happiness really is a warm puppy. That’s why more than a year ago the College of Human Medicine came up with the idea of bringing therapy dogs to the students in East Lansing and Grand Rapids during exam week. Everyone knows how stressful exams can be but cuddling a dog really does help calm students down. Read more about the program, which is part of a broader program in the college, in the STUDENT VIEW: Doggone Stress Relief.

My Molly went from a young shelter dog to a truly pampered pooch with just a bit of paperwork and a small fee. Sure, her life got better, but she’s given me more than I ever could repay.

Laura Reese, director of the Global Urban Studies Program and a professor of political science, is doing what she can to do the same for other shelter dogs. Her research focuses on issues relating to cities. She’s researched the problem of feral dogs in Detroit and how the sheer number has overwhelmed rescue workers. She has a number of projects focused on the plight of homeless animals. In true Spartan fashion, she is not only studying the problem, but she’s a hands-on volunteer to help with solutions by working with shelter dogs to get them ready for adoption. Read her FACULTY VOICE: Teaching Frazzleberry, to learn more about her work.

Here I am talking about students and faculty and dogs at MSU and I haven’t even touched on our renowned College of Veterinary Medicine.  As every pet owner in the area knows, we are lucky to have such a world-class animal hospital in our neighborhood. The MSU Veterinary Medical Center offers primary care, specialty services, emergency and critical care service for large and small animals of all kinds. I’ve seen dogs, horses and llamas out for walks. They even treated a lion a few years ago—check out the video

Though my workdays don’t usually involve lions, they have been kind of ferocious lately. I’ve had my fair share of stress in the last few weeks, to be sure. Yet, I’m comforted knowing that when I go home, those soulful brown eyes and that wagging tail will make it all better.

Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday