Dog Lovers Club Introduces Canine Friends to Campus During Final Week of Classes

Fidelco Volunteers and Guide Dogs-in-training Receive Warm Welcome at Trinity

Hartford, Connecticut, December 21, 2015 – Anyone walking in the vicinity of Gates Quad on a recent Thursday at lunchtime could not help but feel curious at the sight of dozens of Trinity students swarming around a grassy area situated between Austin Arts Center and Mather Hall. What drew so many individuals to form this spontaneous crowd, buzzing with excitement and laughter? The answer: dogs and those who love dogs.

Student members of the Dog Lovers Club organized the gathering, welcoming to campus four dogs and their volunteer trainers, all affiliated with Fidelco, a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization that provides guide dogs to people who are visually impaired. The dogs – Aiko, Flynn, Spenser, and Ulryk – were the beneficiaries of many head pats, behind-the-ear scratches, and more than a few hugs.

Members of the club also baked and sold cookies to raise funds for Fidelco. “It takes $45,000 and two years to train each dog, and they are provided to blind clients at no cost,” said Molly Schineller ’18, who is co-president of the club along with Lilla Kis ’18. “We raised a decent amount of money to donate to Fidelco,” said Schineller.

Dog Lovers Club members and Fidelco volunteers and dogs,
from left, in back: Maggie Millian ’18, Brynne MacIver ’18,
Molly Schineller ’18, Erin Gannon ’19,  Ed and Adele Banas
with Spenser, Madelane Feakins ’16 , and Lilla Kis ’18.
In front, from left: Angela Pitsoulakis ’16, Bill Currie with
Ulryk, Taylor Ogan ’18, and Pam Goodling with Flynn.

Of more than 100 student clubs at Trinity, the Dog Lovers Club is one of the newest. In existence for one semester and with about 10 students involved so far, members say that their club is still a bit of a secret. But after the popular visit by Fidelco volunteers and dogs, club organizers anticipate signing up additional participants after students return to campus in January. The club meets Thursday evenings at 8 p.m., with members often sharing photos of their dogs back home and commiserating about how much they miss their pets. The club recently started a dog-sitting service for faculty members.

A few days after the Fidelco dogs visited, Trinity students had another dose of puppy love, courtesy of a local chapter of Cold Noses, Warm Hearts, a national, all-volunteer organization that brings registered therapy pets to a variety of settings, including colleges, hospitals, and children's centers. The Cold Noses, Warm Hearts visitors participated in a Barnyard Entertainment-hosted event, “Stress Less, Relax More” on December 12, part of a week-long stress relief series in collaboration with the Vernon Social programming series and the S.A.I.L. Office. According to Sarah Lucas, assistant director of student activities, involvement, and leadership, “This event, which was aimed at helping students relieve some of their stress leading into the last day of classes and start of finals, received rave reviews from students.”

For information about student clubs and other ways for students to get involved in extracurricular activities on campus, visit http://www.trincoll.edu/StudentLife/clubs/Pages/default.aspx

 Written by Kathy Andrews
Top photo by Andrew J. Concatelli; bottom photo courtesy of the Dog Lovers Club