Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Wednesday, June 20, 2018

AU’s top dogs bring ‘puppy love’

Kya and Elias frequently go on walks around campus with McDowell Resident Director Matthew Le Brasseur and Anderson Resident Director Amanda Morley. They even have play dates with one another in Morley’s room.

Although Kya and Elias are campus residents, their contribution to AU is a bit different — they are dogs.

Resident directors are permitted to keep dogs in the residence halls, since they live in these halls year-round. However, they must pay a deposit of $560 to fully clean the room when the resident director leaves.

“It’s like having a real apartment on campus,” Le Brasseur said. “Most schools have this policy.”

Kya is a mix between a golden Labrador and German shepherd, according to Morley. The reddish-brown dog loves living on campus and cuddling with students.

“She’s adapted well to living on campus,” Morley said. “She loves any kind of attention and loves living here.”

Kya formerly lived with Morley’s partner in her on-campus apartment at George Mason University. She decided to bring Kya to AU to help separate the feeling between work and home.

“It’s nice coming home to somebody,” Morley said. “I just feel bad that I can’t give her as much attention.”

Morley said she found Kya running down the street while visiting her partner’s family in Kentucky. Kya was the runt of a family and was going to be placed in a shelter or put up for adoption before Morley decided to adopt her.

Morley wakes Kya up at 6 each morning for a walk before leaving work, which is just a few rooms away from her apartment in Anderson.

“She normally just naps the whole day,” Morley said. “She’s really good; she doesn’t disturb anything.”

The Anderson Hall staff is an active part of Kya’s life, Morley said. Some resident assistants occasionally walk her or watch her for short periods.

“A few staff members are very proactive about walking her,” Morley said. “If they’re ever stressed out, they ask to take her out for a walk.”

Le Brasseur said he receives a similar reaction to Elias in McDowell Hall.

“Students in the building love him,” he said. “I get offers to walk him all the time.”

Elias stays in a crate and sleeps for the majority of the day until Le Brasseur returns.

“I usually take him for a walk in the morning and when I get home,” he said. “I usually go by what he looks like he needs.”

Le Brasseur first brought Elias to McDowell Hall when he became the resident director in July 2010. He adopted him from The Humane Society since Elias had three previous owners.

“He has anxiety and abandonment issues,” Le Brasseur said. “He gets a little panicky when I step out, but he’s getting better.”

Le Brasseur said the Humane Society told him Elias was potty-trained when he adopted him, however it was soon evident this was not the case. He mentioned one incident where Elias pooped in front of the glass doors to the first-floor lounge while students were eating dinner last year.

“It was so embarrassing then, but it’s hilarious now,” Le Brasseur said.

Elias enjoys living on campus as well and even ventures on “puppy play dates” with Kya occasionally.

“He’s cute and really likes people,” Le Brasseur said.

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