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Orr trains service dog on campus

Photo Courtesy of John Paul McCann ’17 | Ryan Orr ’19 and his dog Lady walk down Brophy hall Oct. 7 during homecoming week.

By Andrew Howard ’17

Every day, a dog named Lady walks the halls of Brophy’s campus, and even travels to Xavier.

Orr has been a service dog trainer since February, something he never really thought he would be involved in, and takes Lady everywhere from class to the sidelines of football games.

“I got involved through our very own Brophy Key Club,” he said. “They sent out a note about it, and I thought it would be awesome to train a dog that could go everywhere, and I signed up.”

Orr also said how time consuming it is to have a service dog in training.

“It is fun and time consuming, we go to training every Saturday, I also take her everywhere with me, it was fun and hard work,” he said.

Initially, Brophy denied the request for Lady.

“We initially denied the request when he came to us a year ago … [the administration] determined the time wasn’t right,” said Dean Mr. Pat Higgins. “The original request was during the summer session, which would have meant a dog sitting in a classroom for four hours.”

Another initial problem was making sure no one was allergic, or even had a fear of dogs, especially during the longer summer session.

“The initial concerns were ‘are there students with allergies?’ ‘what if someone doesn’t want a dog to be there?’ [the summer session] was just not a dynamic situation,” Mr. Higgins said.

Eventually though, Lady was approved and allowed on campus.

“To Ryan’s credit and their families credit they were persistent and on the second go around it was approved, as long as no teacher or student has an issue with it,” Mr. Higgins said. “We didn’t want it to impede on the learning of anyone else,”

Orr said that when he first got Lady he felt pretty uncomfortable, but over time he has become used to it.

“At this point having a dog with me at all times is normal,” Orr said. “At first it was kind of weird. I knew that as I was walking through the halls people were staring at the dog and talking about how cute she is. By now it’s died down a bit but lady is still popular.”

So far, Orr’s only problem was getting Lady approved to be on campus, a process he said took longer than he expected.

After getting lady approved by the dean, the next step was talking to his teachers, he said they responded positively.

“My teachers have responded surprisingly well,” he said. “Some just act like she is not even there, and some will just like to pet her. But each one of them thought this was a great idea and a great opportunity.”

Mr. Higgins echoed this saying so far everything has gone very smoothly and there are yet to be any complaints about Lady.

Orr said that Lady went particularly well with his group of friends, and that after the first few weeks, she just fit in with the group.

Though the experience with Lady went smoothly, Orr recently had to give her up, something he said was very taxing on him.

“It’s weird not having her … I got used to having her with me, and we had a bond,” he said.

Orr had lady for roughly 5 months, and was expected to have her almost a year, but he ended giving her up in late October.

Orr said his relationship with lady was very special, and he would think about training another service dog in the future.