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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

CAMPUS CLUBS: DOG CLUB

From left to right, Lila and Hoku wait patiently for their human to throw the ball on the comm lawn, April 28, 2016. Lila and Hoku are regulars at WWU Dog Club gatherings. // Photo courtesy of Rachael Beebe
From left to right, Lila and Hoku wait patiently for their human to throw the ball on the comm lawn, April 28, 2016. Lila and Hoku are regulars at WWU Dog Club gatherings. // Photo courtesy of Rachael Beebe

Western’s newest club has the answer to staying calm, mindful, active and social.

Sophomore Rachael Beebe, president of the Western Dog Club, is passionate about animals. She is majoring in biology and hopes to earn a masters in zoology one day.

Beebe co­founded the club soon after getting her dog, a boxer/shepherd mix named Lila, about a month ago. She saw an opportunity to get students who care for dogs together.

“I want anyone that loves dogs to join, especially [those] stressed out,” Beebe said. “It’s great therapy for them.”

Beebe said having a puppy gives her a reason to get out and relax after having a stressful week and it’s given her a chance to meet new people.

“I love to just talk about my dog, so being around people who also love dogs, [is] great,” Beebe said.

Members meet up every other weekend, sometimes on campus or at Lake Padden, which has a dog park.

“It helps when you start out in the dog park because that’s neutral territory for everyone. They don’t feel trapped like they would on a leash,” Beebe said. “We’ve never had any aggression issues, and all of the dogs seem to get along really well.”

Safety is one of Beebe’s number one concerns. She said introducing the dogs to each other slowly will ensure there’s a good group dynamic among them.

“I want anyone that loves dogs to join, especially [those] stressed out. It’s great therapy for them.” 

Rachael Beebe

At the club’s first gathering Beebe sent her puppy Lila into Lake Padden and another student’s dog, Scout, who has always been skittish of the water, followed Lila into the lake.

“She went in pretty far. That was a good moment for her,” Beebe said. “I like it when the dogs are able to get comfortable with new things.”  

Beebe’s puppy Lila is only about six months old and still gets nervous in new situations, but playing with other dogs in the club has improved her comfort level, Beebe said. Club meetings sometimes feature 15 to 20 minutes of an information session where members learn about topics such as dog safety and health. Beebe said she also likes to include a walk into the gatherings so the dogs can get some exercise.

“A lot of times Western students don’t have tons of time to take their dogs out,” Beebe said. “Getting out and getting exercise is very beneficial.”

On Wednesday, June 8, the club will be hosting a Finals and Furry Friends event from noon to 2 p.m. on the lawn in front of the Communications Facility building. Members will bring their dogs to a spot on campus where students will be able to come up and pet or play with the dogs. Beebe said students that are interested in the event are welcome to bring their own dogs too.

The club will continue to meet throughout the summer, at least every other weekend.

To find out more about upcoming events, check out Western Dog Club’s Facebook page.

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