The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

The student news site of Linfield University

The Linfield Review

Jack the Dog: the Unlikely College Furry Friend

Abbie Bach

Upon walking into apartment 204 at Linfield University, you will be instantly met with an enormous hug and a warm welcome from the fifth roommate of the home.

However instead of two arms, two legs, and an intriguing conversation welcoming you in, you’ll find yourself submerged in 80 pounds of fluff and fur, and an overwhelming amount of dog breath.

This friendly greeting comes from Jack, a 2-year-old German shepherd and Husky mix living on campus at Linfield.

Although Jack hasn’t been here long, he has already made a lasting impact on his owner, Caity Babcock, a junior studying psychology.

Freshman year of college was not easy for Babcock. She started college during the pandemic, as well as juggling preseason for the lacrosse team and the strenuous academic load of being a college student.

After returning home for the summer and consulting with her parents and doctor, Babcock realized that an extra friend was necessary for the upcoming school year.

Babcock and her family traveled to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), to find an animal to adopt. Although Jack is considered to be an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), Babcock was originally just looking to adopt a regular dog.

“I had been looking to get a dog for a while; I just wanted to find one that I felt a connection with, and he was the lucky guy,” Babcock said.

While some service and ESA animals are required to undergo training before the owner adopts, Jack was adopted by the Babcock family with no previous experience as an ESA. Babcock trained him herself, and is in the process of getting Jack certified so she can bring him to hospitals and nursing homes.

“If I can get him certified, I know that he can help other people the same ways that he has helped me,” Babcock said.

When first training Jack as an ESA, Babcock was hoping he would help with her anxiety and depression. However, Babcock soon learned that Jack could help her in more ways than one.

“Overall, Jack keeps me active and helps me stay organized. It’s pretty important to stay on top of something when you have to take care of two living beings,” said Babcock.

Photo by Abbie Bach (Abbie Bach)

While Jack has helped Babcock in more ways than one, the junior would not have been able to welcome a furry friend into her life without the accommodations of Linfield. The school implemented a program allowing pets to live with students in fall of 2019, which has helped them transition to college.

As the years have progressed, more and more schools are willing to allow pets in their residence halls. However, when Kathleen Jensen, the Assistant Director of Residence Life at Linfield, looked into introducing pet-friendly dorms at Linfield, she discovered a lack of pet-friendly housing in colleges throughout the West Coast.

Jensen is currently in her seventh year working at the school and is more than familiar with the positive impact pets can have. Jensen’s personal zoo consists of two corgi puppies named Eleanor and Lucy, and two cats named Haley and Jaxs.

Haley was adopted in Jensen’s senior year at the University of North Carolina, and helped Jensen greatly with the stress of moving across the country and coping with large changes in her life. Jensen views pets as a crucial addition to her support system.

“If you had a bad day and you’re feeling stressed or anxious, nothing will make you feel better than going home to your pets,” Jensen said.

When accepting the job at Linfield in 2017, one of Jensen’s first tasks was to open up the campus to animals. While only the Jane Failing residence hall and the Blaine Street apartments allow pets, service or ESA animals are welcome in any residence hall or apartment on the Linfield campus.

Many students have reached out and thanked Jensen for this new program, informing her that allowing pets at Linfield has not only helped them stay at school, but in some cases saved their lives.

In the case of Babcock, it is no different. Even teammates of the lacrosse player have noticed the positive impact Jack has had.

“Jack helps her a lot with her emotions; he is able to distract her from anxiety and her daily stress by snuggling and just being there for her,” said Babcock’s teammate, Tenley Hodge.

As more students have brought their pets to Linfield, the university has gone to extra lengths to accommodate them. The school has partnered with a local pet store, which will deliver supplies to the Residence Life office the same day they are ordered, making it easier to have an extra friend far away from home.

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About the Contributors
Tori Schuller
Tori Schuller, News Editor
Tori is a junior political science and journalism double major. She is from Whidbey Island, Washington, and is on the golf team here at Linfield. In her free time, she loves to hike, paddle board, and go to concerts. She hopes to improve her journalism and writing skills from this experience on the Linfield Review. After graduating, she hopes to travel the world and spread the stories of every person she meets.
Abbie Bach
Abbie Bach, Photographer
Abbie is a junior from Happy Valley, OR majoring in sociology and minoring gender studies & law rights and justice. She is a member of the Linfield women’s soccer team. When not playing soccer, Abbie enjoys hiking, hanging out with friends, playing sudoku, and watching tv (she’s currently rewatching the office for the 50th time). After graduation, Abbie hopes to do something in the law field and keep doing photography as a side hobby!

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