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Dogs of Pace

News Story

Pace University is home to more than just incredible students, faculty, and staff—we have plenty of dogs, too! Join us as we meet them and hear a little bit about their stories.

There are more than 13,000 students, faculty, and staff who call Pace home. But did you know that we have some popular four-legged friends, too? Meet some of the Pace pups who work hard, play hard, and continue to brighten our day on both campuses!

If you recognize my brother and I, that’s because we hang out on the Pleasantville Campus a lot. I guess you could say we’re minor Pace celebrities. Chilling out in Elm Hall? Hitting up Choate Pond? Getting love in the quad? Yeah, that’s us.

Even though I look like I always have it together, sometimes I get nervous. One time I actually got really lost, and almost didn’t find my way back home. We’d just moved to a new house with our humans and there was a huge storm—bigger than anything I could remember experiencing before. So I did what any normal dog would do in that situation: I broke through the screen door on the second floor, got up onto the roof, and jumped off. (I’m a pretty good jumper, I’ll have you know.)

At first I was really scared, but then you know what? Rain makes everything smell really interesting, so I followed a few cool scents, met some of my new animal neighbors, and made it back home 12 hours later with plenty of stories to tell my humans. They were freaking out a little, but that’s parents for you. Check out my dad’s Twitter. He posts my selfies sometimes (and also some pictures of campus, if you’re into that)!

—Willa (and Gus)

Human: Michael Finewood, PhD, Professor of Environmental Studies

Being a certified facility dog takes a lot of work! I trained with ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities) and I love what I do, but I think most humans don’t realize I need my own self-care. As Pace’s first-ever canine faculty member (I even have my own ID card), one of my jobs is to guide students, faculty, and staff through breathing exercises and relaxation techniques during scheduled therapy sessions. You can imagine how many people I meet in a day, and sometimes it’s...well, a lot. I can absorb the stress I feel from humans, so it’s really important that I get a little me time.

So what do I do? Listen to music. It’s set to a very specific pitch that sounds really soothing to pups like me. (Here’s me chilling out to one of my favorite tracks.) And after a long, satisfying day helping other people? It’s important that I set some time aside to help myself. You should, too!

—‘Professor’ Spirit

Human: Joanne Singleton, PhD, RN, FNP, Professor, College of Health Professions, Canines and Health

I met my human when I climbed into her shoe as a pup. (Sneakers make very comfortable beds. 10/10 would recommend!) She was a junior in college studying homeland security at the time and I was only a few weeks old. It was pretty neat getting to explore her studio apartment! I’ve traveled to a few places since then—and I get attention wherever I go. The thing is, sudden loud noises scare me a lot. It’s hard to explain that to humans who get excited when they see me. I know I’m cute, but I’m also small, and my ears are pretty sensitive.

There was one time when I got startled by someone so badly that I ran for cover—and I didn’t come out for hours. No playing, no napping. I just sat in my human’s arms and waited until I could go back home again. So next time you see a cute dog? Slow down for a second and notice the way we’re acting. We appreciate it!

Oh, and by the way? I’m coming for you, Pleasantville Campus squirrels.


Human: Rosemary Hartofilis, Safety and Communications Manager

If somebody told me three years ago that I’d end up a hiker, I would’ve laughed. I was a rescue pup back then. You know what my online profile said? That I wasn’t “adoptable” by most people’s standards. I suffer from severe anxiety and minor incontinence, and that made it hard to place me in a home, so yeah. Hiking? Not really something I could imagine for myself. Not until I was adopted by Sue, who adopted my sister shortly after, and everything started falling into place. Daisy lives with severe anxiety, too, so it seemed like the perfect fit. Before long, we were hitting the trails after mom came home from work at Pace’s Pleasantville Campus, and now we’re exercising every day—once in the morning, and once at night, for a total of seven miles.

We’re still a little wary of other people, but it’s getting better. We take it day by day, step by step, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

—Maggie (and Daisy)

Human: Sue Maxam, PhD, Assistant Vice President of Undergraduate Education

My worst day ever was when I had a spinal stroke. It was a very confusing thing to experience. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t go to the bathroom—I didn't even have the strength to hold my head up, and I certainly didn’t know what was going on. After several tests and more hospital visits than I knew what to do with, my doctors told me it wasn’t looking good. I know how much that crushed my humans. That’s what really motivated me to keep fighting. Eating food from a syringe, having to be carried everywhere, and held whenever I needed to go to the bathroom ... there were some pretty low moments. But everyone was so happy when I started taking my first few unsteady steps and the strength I gained after months of physical therapy and underwater treadmill. It wasn’t all belly rubs and bacon on my road to recovery, but you know what? It all worked out in the end. I might not be able to do stairs that well anymore, but if I bark loud enough, I get a little lift to where I need to go. Pretty sweet deal.

You should stop by the NYC Campus when I come to visit, or follow me on Instagram. My humans make an appearance sometimes, too!


Human: Tiffany Lopes, Director of Content

A few summers ago, my owner abandoned me on Pace’s Pleasantville Campus. I ended up wandering around the wooded area next to the Admin Building looking for a safe place to stay. This was difficult because I was deaf and partially blind, and I’d never tried to fend for myself in the wild before. It’s a lot harder than it looks. I was cold, and scared, and feeling very alone when a few humans spotted me venturing closer to the parking lot. Then more humans noticed. Soon, they were leaving blankets and food and bowls of water. They even gave me a new name: Shiloh, probably because I seemed so shy. I knew they were only trying to help, but I was scared, you know? I’d been hurt before, and I didn’t want to get hurt again. So I only came close enough to grab their gifts and then I’d run back into the woods, desperate for their love and attention, but too nervous to risk it.

By the time I finally mustered up the courage to approach those huge wooden doors, the leaves were already falling off the trees. It was raining really hard that night, which made it feel even colder because my fur was wet and I was shivering. I knew if I didn’t try to get over my fear, I might not survive without help. It took two hours and seven very patient people giving me the space and the support I needed before I finally felt ready to climb into the car waiting to take me home—to my real home, the one with a woman named Sue. I can’t thank her and everyone else at Pace enough for their kindness. It changed my life, and I’ll never forget them.


Human: Sue Maxam, PhD, Assistant Vice President of Undergraduate Education

In memory of Shiloh, a very special Pace dog who passed away from cancer after two loving years with her new family. She will be forever missed!

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