The Collegian
Thursday, February 22, 2024

Welcome Karla, UR's New Well-Being Dog!

Watch out, there’s a new pup in town.

On Feb. 13, the Well-Being Center officially appointed a new Well-Being dog named Karla.

In August of 2022, Emmett, the University of Richmond's previous Well-Being dog, announced his departure in an Instagram post.  

“I’m moving! I really don’t want to say goodbye but it’s time for a new adventure for me,” the post read.

After Emmett left, Lori Schuyler, Karla's owner who works in UR's Planning and Policy office noticed that UR was looking for a new facility dog, Schuyler wrote in an email to The Collegian. 

“I thought she would enjoy having a job where she got to bring that joy to students every day," Schuyler wrote. 

The 2-year-old standard poodle began her career as a facility dog to Schuyler's children during the pandemic when they were unable to spend time with friends in person. During this time, Karla proved to be a highly gentle, loving and intelligent companion: the ideal qualities in a therapy dog, Schuyler said. 

After completing a series of regular obedience classes, Schuyler and Karla began taking additional classes to become a therapy dog team. Both basic training skills like staying on command and more complicated tasks, such as resisting dangerous items, were featured in these classes,said Schuyler. 

“Those classes were hard! I had some test anxiety dreams leading up to test day, but Karla did a great job,” said Schuyler. 

That training ultimately ensured Karla would be great at her new job here at UR. 

As a trained therapy dog, Karla will be working to boost students' moods, relieve stress and foster a more welcoming environment on campus, wrote Kaitlin Jones, UR’s health promotion assistant, in an email to The Collegian.  

Spreading a little happiness every day is how Schuyler and her colleagues in Student Development describe Karla’s new position on campus, she wrote. 

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Karla has adapted to this new role and environment quite well too, Jones said.

“She loves to give people attention and love. She also enjoys visiting different buildings around campus and walking around the Westhampton Lake to say hi to the other pups walking and geese,” Jones said.

Schuyler can also attest that Karla loves her new job, she wrote. 

“When we arrive on campus in the morning she knows exactly where she is and starts heading for the Well-Being Center regardless of where I park on campus,” Schuyler wrote. 

Those interested in visiting the newest furry addition to the UR family can stop by to see her at the front desk of the Well-Being Center. 

If you can’t catch her there, Karla usually takes a walk at 10 a.m. to visit various parts of campus, then walks back home at 4 p.m. Be sure to say hello!

Contact features writer Grace Randolph at grace.randolph@richmond.edu. 

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