Harvard University: The top of the top, the big daddy of the eight Ivy League schools. Getting in is nearly impossible, so once admitted the pressure to succeed is—to put it mildly—stressful.
A fortunate few, though, can lean on the healing magic of a canine companion. Proctors, resident tutors, and Housemasters can welcome certain types of pets, and you can guess which type we want to share with you.
Clint Ficula is one of the lucky ones. He says, of his yellow Lab, “Duke is the best part of our room.”
A recent Harvard Medical School study titled, “Get Healthy, Get a Dog,” adds to the already abundant evidence indicating that dogs can have a positive and healthy influence on our lives.
Elizabeth Pegg Frates, Clinical Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, says, “What we found is that people who own dogs are more likely to reach the guidelines of physical activity.” Dogs are helpful in “lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing stress and cortisol levels.” And this includes those dogs living in Harvard’s Houses.
Perhaps Specialty Proctor Joe Vitti sums it up best. His Great Dane, aptly named Charles River (“Chuck” to his friends) has lived at Harvard for three and is something of a student motivator.
Says Vitti, “I’ve had students come to study break and they’ll be like, ‘I’m just here for the dog.’ OK, thanks … .”
In celebration of National Dog Day, we present a few of the scene-stealing members of Harvard’s canine class: