Students reminisce after furry friends leave campus

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Nattie provides comfort to those on campus. Marquette Wire stock photo

The Marquette community said goodbye to two beloved furry friends this summer: Cu, formerly the Counseling Center’s therapy dog, and Nattie, formerly the Marquette University Police Department outreach dog. Both dogs have officially retired from their jobs on campus.

Nattie left Marquette at the end of last school year to return back to life as a pet, according to an announcement on Nattie’s Instagram account April 22. Cu also recently moved to the East coast this summer with her owner, retired Counseling Center Director Mike Zebrowski, where she will most likely spend the rest of her retirement.

The former MUPD outreach dog had a somewhat unusual role for a police dog — she was trained to be a source of comfort and support to students. Cu had similar responsibilities and was trained to perceive and help relieve anxiety and improve mental health.

“It’s a shame that they’re gone,” said Eric Hoyerman, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, said. “I think (Cu) was good for the students.”

Hoyerman said whenever he saw Cu, his day got a little bit better. He also said Cu supplied comfort to others on campus, especially during finals week, as it can be the most stressful time of the semester for students.

Now that Cu is retired, Hoyerman said he is a little disappointed.

“I wish we had another dog like that,” Hoyerman said.

Although Hoyerman never got the opportunity to interact with Nattie, he heard plenty about her from other students.

“I’ve heard people talk about Cu and Nattie all the time,” Hoyerman said. “It’s always positive thoughts when they talk about those dogs.”

Hoyerman is not alone in his attitude about the former furry friends at Marquette.

Katherine Lesavich, a first-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences, said after hearing about Cu and Nattie, she feels a little upset that she never had the chance to meet them.

Lesavich said she believes trained dogs like Cu and Nattie can be good outlets for stress.

“I personally would love it because I’ve always loved dogs,” Lesavich said. “I think it’s a great way of relieving stress and they’re just wonderful, happy animals.”

She said she would have gone to visit either one of the dogs if they had not retired.

While attending high school, Lesavich said she would interact with an off-duty service dog on a daily basis, petting and playing with him during free periods. She said these interactions were always positive parts of her school day. 

Others who have been on campus longer than Lesavich have had similarly positive personal experiences with trained helping dogs.

Lisset Perez-Jaramillo, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said the first time she saw Cu was when he visited the Educational Opportunity Program center during exam week while Cu was there. Since then, she said they have had several positive interactions.

“One day I was very stressed, very anxious, and I was just walking around,” Perez-Jaramillo said. “Cu had other kids with him, but it seemed like he knew I really needed him because he walked away from them to just put his paw on my knee and that was really comforting.”

She said Cu is a very perceptive dog and that he will be missed on campus.

Perez-Jaramillo said just because she had fewer interactions with Nattie, it does not mean she cares any less about the dog’s retirement.

“Nattie is a very beautiful dog and very comforting as well. Just because I didn’t have my own personal relationship with her doesn’t mean her presence won’t be missed,” Perez-Jaramillo said. “What I had with Cu, I’m pretty sure other students had with Nattie.” 

Perez-Jaramillo said there is a wide consensus that both Cu and Nattie were well-loved icons on campus, but she also accepts that they had to leave eventually.

“These dogs will definitely be missed, but there comes a time when they need to retire just like any other job,” Perez-Jaramillo said. “I can’t be upset about that.”

Perez-Jaramillo said she hopes the university will try to find other dogs or helping animals — not to replace Cu and Nattie, but to help bring the idea of family and community to campus.

This story was written by Charlotte Ives. She can be reached at charlotte.ives@marquette.edu.