Is Harvard Going to the Dogs?

Mutts. They're everywhere nowadays: Playing catch near Sever, sunning in front of the Science Center and even roaming the government department office--which leaves us to wonder:

I had a dog at home, and I missed it," Sutton says, "[Watching Jasper] gives me a nice break from work, and my room mates seem to love it."

But Young says that while he believes administrators should be able to have dogs, students' schedules make handling pets nearly impossible.

"I think deans should have dogs as part of their profession," Young says. "The problem with students is what to do over vacations and in the spring."

First-year Proctor Linda M. Pedelty says raising a dog in Harvard Yard requires additional attention than is normally needed.

"If I am going to be away for more than three hours," she says, "I'll have to arrange to have her visit Auntie Jessica down the hall or have a student check in on her."


The pets have also become an integral part of dorm activities.

Mackay-Smith says the raised two dogs in the Yard. And both pooches participated in all entryway events.

"I remember that when my dog was pregnant we had Peer Contraceptive Counseling come," Mackay-Smith says. "My dog sat right next to the PCC kids, but it was too late to do her any good."

Michael J. Middleton 87, assistant dean of first-year students, says raising his pooch Chelsea in his apartment in the basement of Hurlbut Hall has provided him companionship and a diversion from work.

"She gets about two hours of exercise [a day], and that's good time away for me," Middleton says. "When I gave her back to her owner, I put on weight."

Dogs on the Run

Some dog owners have criticized Cambridge's stringent enforcement of the leash law.

Currently there exists only one public area in Cambridge, Fresh Pond Park, where dogs can run without a leash. The Cambridge City Council recently tried to close this park to dogs.

Pedelty says she believes the leash law stifles dogs, both physically and socially.

"I've got a really long rope, but I would love a place in the city for a dog to run free," she says. "It's hard for dogs to make friends on a leash, and that's part of her problem socializing."