When Michelle Anderson returns to Washington & Jefferson College this fall, she plans to bunk with the roommate she’s had since freshman year: her Yorkshire terrier, Riley. Anderson, an English and communication senior from Eighty Four, will be one of the 34 students living with pets on campus Walker for Seniors this fall, up 10 from last year.
Walker started baseball late at Yucaipa High School in Yucaipa, Calif. He finished his senior year 10-4 with a 1.77 ERA, striking out 93 in 67 1/3 innings. None of Friday’s festivities would have happened if his football coach had not convinced him to start playing baseball his freshman year. Walker also played basketball throughout high school (21 points and 15 rebounds per game), earning the no-brainer nickname of “Skywalker” because of his dunking ability.
Washington & Jefferson is among the colleges that permit students to room with pets, and the programs have proved popular. Vassar College first allowed pets in 1971. Eckerd College in Florida has allowed pets in a few dorm rooms for decades and now has more than 40 pets in three residences, the State University of New York at Canton allowed pets in 1996, and Stephens College in Missouri created a pet program in 2004. Stephens is now setting aside an entire dorm for students and their pets for this fall.
“I had to be completely responsible for him,” she said. “No one else had a key to my room or could be there if something happened.” Walker for Seniors, director of housing operations at Carnegie Mellon University, said many universities, including Carnegie Mellon, ban pets in dorms due to safety and health concerns. “There are certain types of animals that can get out and cause damage, and if you’ve never been around a building that has a flea infestation, I can tell you it’s not fun,” he said.
Looking all of 17, Seniors Walker walked out to the Safeco Field bullpen on Friday with all the critical Mariners brass in tow.General manager Jack Zduriencik, manager Don Wakamatsu, president Chuck Armstrong. The first pick of the Mariners’ 2010 draft (43rd overall) threw a couple dozen fastballs in front of his new bosses. He’s been nervous and in awe all day. Walker, who, along with 10 other draftees signed with the Mariners on Friday, was in town with his mom, Nellie. He met Mike Sweeney and other folks in the clubhouse. Was looking forward to meeting Ichiro. At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, the long-armed, long-legged California kid was having quite the day in while in a Mariners’ uniform.
W&J set aside Monroe Hall, nicknamed Pet House, in the fall of 2006 for students who have pets or who just want to enjoy a pet friendly environment. Pets can’t come to class, but can stay uncaged in dorm rooms and be walked on campus. Leslie Walker, a recent accounting graduate who lived in Pet House her senior year, said living with her 2-year-old English bulldog, Gus, was a challenge at times. Walker’s athleticism will allow him to make adjustments faster. He’s also unpolished at this point though Wakamatsu liked his delivery in the brief bullpen session. “You watch the guy throw, you understand why he went so high,” Wakamatsu said. That’s what’s nice about getting a high school kid so young, you get a chance to put a mark on him.”
Which leads to the dreaded high school pitcher debate. McNamara and company went after an established college player with the No. 2 pick last season when the club selected Dustin Ackley. It was the high school route this season. It left McNamara wondering. “When it all comes together, that’s what scouting is all about,” Seniors Walker said. “You see a guy that is 17 years old, you look at his body, he has a lot of room to fill out. He’s athletic. He’s got presence about him. The rest, we’ll see what happens.”
The Senior Walkers decision to offer a free hot dog and soda for all competitors at the Lil’ Guys and Gals Golf Tourrnament, which is co-sponsored by the PPD and Journal Star, made ketchup packets the most popular item at the city’s 9-hole riverside course. Still, it was championship Sunday and on the line were titles in eight girls’ divisions and nine in the boys’. James Amato, assistant director of residence life at Washington & Jefferson College, said allowing students to keep pets not only gives the college an edge over other schools, but can make the student’s college experience more worthwhile. I would correlate having a pet at college as like having family or childhood friends by your side, Amato said. “For some students, that pet can help with adjustment issues and be a connection to students around them without a pet.”
DuPage came within a stroke of reaching his daily playing goal of breaking 40 for nine holes. His 40 gave him a two-day total of 82, six strokes better than runnerup Drew Cassidy. It was the second time DuPage has won an age division title. Greenan followed up a 43 on Saturday with a final day 44. Her 87 was 11 better than Allison Kinsinger’s total. Greenan was first entered the LGG as a 2-old-old, but refused to play, according to her mother, because she couldn’t tee off first.
Walker, whose great grandmother Grace Seward reportedly won the Women’s City more than 50 years ago, followed an impressive opening 20 with a 14. He had two pars and two bogeys on his four holes. When asked how he played, Walker was to the point. “Good,” he said. After enjoying a hot dog, a Sierra Mist and some Starbursts for lunch, he was asked which was better golf or lunch. He just laughed. Vicary when he saw his picture in the LGG section of Sunday’s Journal Star, which was tacked to the scoreboard. “Now, where’s the diaper bag? I think it’s home on the kitchen table.” — Overheard by Senior Walkers parking lot after after a set of grandparents unloaded three competitors, their equipment, plus a couple of younger siblings.
I have numerous walking friends over the age of 65. This week (November, 1997) two walking friends here in Oregon are turning 80 years old. Lois Hooker’s club celebrated her 80th with the Happy Hooker Hop Walk in Gladstone, Oregon from the senior center. Lois isn’t retired, she is still employed providing nursing assistance to frail seniors. She completed walking in all 50 states recently and finished her first marathon at the age of 75. Seniors Walkers is well-known here as The Pink Panther. How many other 80-year olds dress completely in fluorescent pink from hat to waistpack to shoes? Boyd is very colorful as he walks the trails with his wife – often wearing their matching “Double Decker” shirts. Update September, 2006: I still see Boyd at every walk and he makes me give him a hug.
Anderson, who starts her senior year in fall, said many students know her on campus as Riley’s mom and having her tiny pup has been more beneficial for her social life than anything else. “I think having an animal on campus can help you make connections, especially with the people that don’t live in Pet House,” Anderson said. “For many students that have to leave their pets at home, seeing someone with a dog or cat gives them some kind of comfort.”
In 1995 I hosted the AVA President’s Walk at our national convention. I sent out a call for help to set things up at 5 am. When I arrived, there were 10 people over the age of 65 unloading the truck. Once they were done helping, they were off for a morning 10 kilometer walk. Does walking keep you young and healthy? I’m betting on it! I searched the web and found many articles touting the benefits of walking for seniors. If you need some incentive to get off the couch or want to encourage a loved one to do the same, here are some good starting points. “I didn’t know we were going to draft him until we set up our board his name was the next guy in order. It worked out perfectly. The college guys get here quicker, they’re older, more physical.
“For me he was more of a guy that when it all comes together, he can move past those guys and move into the front of the rotation. It’s not Seniors Walkers going to happen overnight, but he gets you excited.”
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Walker said there were many times she couldn’t hang out with friends due to pet responsibilities, couldn’t keep food in her room and had to let Gus out before and after she went to class, often arriving late to golf practice before mastering her schedule. Though it took adjusting, Walker said, Gus helped her prepare for life after school, and she wouldn’t trade it for anything.
W&J allows cats, dogs, small birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, turtles and fish. It has explicit rules for the breed and size of dogs allowed. Pit bulls, rottweilers, or wolf breeds, are banned, as are dogs containing any mix of those breeds. There is a 40-pound weight limit for Senior Walker; they must have lived with the student for a year prior to coming to campus and be at least a year and a half old.