As the October chill sets in and the leaves turn all kinds of vibrant hues, it’s clear that fall is upon us. As temperatures drop, dig out your favorite old blanket, stock up on packets of Swiss Miss hot chocolate, and find a friend to keep you warm. Area coordinator LizAnette Perez knows that the fuzzier the friend, the better. She and her dog Oreo have always endured the brutal Amherst winters together. If you haven’t spent time with some of the furrier members of our community, you’ve been missing out. Amherst’s dog scene reflects the college’s commitment to diversity — our faculty and student’s pets come in all shapes, colors and sizes.
Area Coordinator and Multicultural Resource Center coordinator Nick Cream knows that sometimes the best things in life come in the smallest packages. That was certainly the case for Cream and his partner, Jordan, during their visit to Dakin Animal Shelter in Leverett, Mass. As soon as they walked in, they came across a litter of four newborn puppies. “Daisy was with her three sisters, but when my partner, Jordan, picked her up, she dug her claws into her shoulder. [W]hen she sat on my lap, she really didn’t want to leave. So, in a sense, Daisy chose us,” Cream said. The tiny puppy has become heartbreaker of Amherst College, and with good reason.
The five-month-old mixed-breed boasts a caramel-colored coat so smooth and silky, you’d think her owners were bathing her with Pantene products. Her big brown eyes melt even the most stressed-out hearts and she has been received with nothing short of adoration from Amherst faculty and students. “The usual response Daisy gets is a high pitched shriek or a face that looks like the person’s heart is just melting. She actually gets recognized pretty often. She’s become a campus celebrity of sorts,” Cream said, glowing like a proud parent.
You may be wondering what pairing of dogs could produce a puppy as cute as Daisy. Nick acknowledged that the puppy got her stout stature from her dachshund mother, but she gave birth while in foster care, so the breed of Daisy’s father is unknown. Many theories exist as to what breed she is mixed with; many believe her father was some sort of retriever or a hound. However, nobody is quite sure logistically how that would have worked.
Don’t be fooled by Daisy’s tiny paws and button nose — taking care of and training a puppy is no small task. “Puppies needs lots of attention and energy, so we’ve had to [puppy-proof the house], like making sure no wires are exposed,” Cream said. Daisy is a very intelligent dog, which, depending on the situation can either be good or challenging. It makes Nick’s life easier when she picks up new commands from her puppy classes quickly, but she also manages to get into trouble from time to time. For example, in a 30-minute time span, Daisy managed to eat half of the leaves off of a plant and spill her water in an attempt to eat the bowl. She also tried to bury a bone in one of the MRC’s couches.
Her mischievous streak doesn’t mean she’s without her serious or reflective moments, too. As she matures and learns, she may undergo the process of becoming certified as a therapy dog. She’s very friendly, and can often be seen in her second home in the MRC in Keefe Campus Center, tussling with area coordinator LizAnette Perez’s dog, Oreo. She’s regularly surrounded by people — if you hear a chorus of voices saying “awww,” chances are Daisy’s the center of attention. Come by to the MRC and pay her a visit; it’s the best de-stresser out there!
Plenty of faculty and staff besides Cream and Perez have dogs that can sometimes be seen around campus. Additionally, several campus-wide opportunities exist to remedy the homesick blues we all get if we’ve gone too long without seeing our pets. Look out for the “Dog Days” events hosted by the Amherst College Partners for Animal Welfare and To Write Love On Her Arms. “Dog Days” serve as great chances to meet faculty pets and maybe score a pet-sitting gig, not to mention that everyone needs a “doggy” hug from time to time!