Marquette Wire

Therapy dog brings comfort to community

Cu+spends+his+days+on+the+third+floor+of+Holthusen+Hall+in+the+Counseling+Center.
Cu spends his days on the third floor of Holthusen Hall in the Counseling Center.

Cu spends his days on the third floor of Holthusen Hall in the Counseling Center.

Photo by Helen Dudley helen.dudley@marquette.edu

Photo by Helen Dudley helen.dudley@marquette.edu

Cu spends his days on the third floor of Holthusen Hall in the Counseling Center.

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When Cu the Therapy dog was first adopted, he was malnourished, matted and heartworm positive. He was born with impaired back legs and raised in a house with three other dogs.

Now, he spends his days on the second floor of Holthusen Hall with owner and Counseling Center director Dr. Mike Zebrowski. The healthy, fluffy, white dog holds the title “legend,” as dubbed by visitors.

“I have never had a dog where old and young people, MU people and those just passing through will stop and ask about him or say, ‘Your dog is beautiful!’” Zebrowski said in an email.

Adopted in January 2016 at five years old, the Great Pyrenees pup was named after the Gaelic word for dog that Zebrowski fell in love with after watching “Song of the Sea,” an animated Irish film that featured a dog named Cu.

Zebrowski was searching for a companion when he stumbled across the breed. He found Cu in Illinois and called the shelter to see how the young dog interacted with people.

Photo by Courtesy of Mike Zebrowski
Cu going for a swim shortly after adoption by owner Mike Zebrowski.

Marquette’s partnership with Health Heelers, the organization that brings therapy dogs to campus, examined Cu after his adoption process and saw his potential. However, it took Cu a full year to become a therapy dog after overcoming challenges of his own.

Cu took a therapy class in fall 2016 to help him run again. However, because of the severity of his leg impairments, he is not able to climb many staircases.

“It took him a year to get him physically healthy — hip surgeries, then recovery with the help of swimming,” Zebrowski said.

Although this big, white, furry dog connects with people every day, he does like other dogs.

But as a therapy dog on campus, Cu mostly loves to meet new people. He makes routine visits to the Center of Intercultural Engagement and LGBTQ+ Resource Center located in the AMU every Wednesday and visits athletic teams on occasion.

Photo by Helen Dudley helen.dudley@marquette.edu
Cu spends his days in the Counseling Center.

Though Cu has yet to sit in on therapy sessions, he continues to visit students campus-wide and stay neutral in the Counseling Center.

Alex Solecki, a freshman in the College of Engineering, finds Cu’s presence in the Counseling Center encouraging.

“I wasn’t originally going to do counseling, but I went in and saw the dog and figured I might as well since Cu was there,” Solecki said.

Cu works full days Monday and Friday as well as a half day Wednesday. He stays on campus until noon.

Photo by Courtesy of Mike Zebrowski
Cu has his own Snapchat, which is updated by owner Mike Zebrowski and has over 800 friends.

He has also gained popularity on social media, accumulating over 800 Snapchat friends on an account that Zebrowski runs. He posts a Snapchat story and puts a physical sign outside Holthusen Hall whenever Cu is in.

As for special tricks, Cu’s talent is primarily interacting with everyone and being pet by visitors as much as he can. “Cu will give his paw when asked to ‘shake,’ otherwise he loves to lounge and particularly likes to be scratched underneath his arms,” Zebrowski said.

 

“You can hug him and pet him, and he’ll just sit there and love you back,” Solecki said.

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