The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Man’s Best Friend: Dogs of the Bear


As the weather warms up at Grinnell’s Bear Athletics and Recreation Center, the athletes are not the only ones happy to see the sun in the sky. While one will not find any bears, they just might encounter one of the staff members’ canine companions who also call the Bear home.

“They love coming here to go outside and be around people,” said Head Baseball Coach Tim Hollibaugh of his four dogs: Champ, 13 years old, Molly, 3 years old and Piper, 13 years old ,are all golden Labradors, and Piper, 8 years old, is an English Setter. “Champ is definitely my dog and is very obedient, and Molly is shy but she’s a pleaser.”
The dogs occupy versatile roles around the Bear. Hollibaugh occasionally brings Champ and Molly into his Coaching Methods class as a way of teaching reinforcement techniques that help humans and dogs alike link actions together and develop skills.

“[When the dogs came] we got to learn about our class topic without really doing class,” Maggie Remus ’18 said.

While the dogs generally keep to themselves at the Bear, they have definitely established their own social scene. Five-year-old Ozzie, Head Softball Coach Amanda Reckamp’s Basset Hound-Boxer-Terrier mix, is another frequent visitor to the office. Unlike some dogs in the Bear, Ozzie never shies away from walking around and interacting with people.
“Ozzie is always excited to go to work,” Reckamp said. “Every morning he is waiting to see if I ask him to go, and [at the Bear] he expects and knows he will get attention from everyone that walks by my office.”

In addition to athletes, staff members also enjoy the positive energy that Ozzie brings to the office.

“Ozzie is very friendly and is always eager to greet me and receive some attention,” said Terri Stark, administrative assistant to the athletic director.
Sports Information Director Ted Schultz also allows his dogs Archie and Oscar to frequent the Bear.

“Archie, a yellow Labrador, is just goofy and Oscar, a Golden Retriever mix, is more lovey-dovey,” Schultz said. “Last week, Archie went to drink from the steeplechase water and instead jumped all the way in.”

Despite their different personalities, Archie and Oscar, both of whom are 11 years old, love coming to work where they can explore all the smells and sounds of the College. With respect to their human friends at the Bear, Schultz said, “they love anybody who will pet them or give them food.”

Coincidentally, another Archie can be found one floor below in the training room. Jason Kofoot, one of Grinnell’s athletic trainers, regularly brings his Archie, a 4 ½ year-old American Staffordshire Terrier, into the office. Like Schultz’s dogs, Archie’s favorite toy was a Mr. Bill doll. That was before he ripped the squeaker out.
“He’s very affectionate, playful in short bursts and pretty docile,” Kofoot said. Athletes visiting the training room will likely find Archie sitting upright in a chair facing the door, tail wagging in anticipation of attention.

“Archie is the only dog I’ll pet for more than a second,” Melissa Anderson ’18 said. “One time I was petting him for 15 minutes and he fell asleep in my lap. Then I made him sit on a whoopee cushion and he got confused, but he still loves me.”
Throughout the Bear, these dogs always capture the attention of passersby. Although they will likely miss the affection during the summer, their wagging tails will be waiting for the students’ return next fall

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *