Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper was about to board a plane in Chicago and take flight to Hong Kong. Preparing to meet with leaders of partner school Sun Yat Sen University, Cooper felt a sense of longing. She felt she was leaving something behind.
On Oct. 7, Cooper and her husband picked up the newest member of the family and the college’s hottest sensation–a chocolate lab named Jackson Browne.
Jack walks around campus with the swagger of someone who has been a part of the campus for years. His warm floppy ears hang past his brown nose. He defines “puppy dog eyes” as his green brown eyes stare into your heart, leaving you with no option but to smile. He cannot take more than three strides before someone’s face lights up as they squat down to pet his soft chocolate fur.
“It took a little getting used to at first, but now if he’s walking down the street, and you don’t stop and look at him, he’s like ‘hello, where’s the love and attention?!,’” Cooper said.
Jack didn’t get his name in the way that most dogs do. The naming process was put in the hands of members of the institution. Springfield College made a post on Instagram announcing the voting, and immediately students started throwing around names like pop culture icons John Cena and Harambe. At the end of the day, Jackson Browne (or Jack) was the winner.
“We wanted to find the best way to introduce him to the campus,” Cooper said. “So we wanted to ask people, ‘if you had a puppy, what would you name it?’ It was something fun to do, and we had a meet and greet session where people got to meet him and think what the best name would be.”
A day in the life of Jack is a pretty good one. He’s up bright and early for a morning walk where he experiences the vibrant colors of the fall season. He then chows down on his favorite dog food. Next, he prepares for the busy day ahead. It’s currently the season for open houses, so he has to impress prospective students with his youthful personality. Jack takes an evening stroll and woofs down some dinner before he snuggles up with Cooper and rests up before he does it all again.
“He made it through homecoming weekend, so he’s got good stamina,” Cooper said. “He can run and run all over, but then he can be a couch potato. I really like that he can cuddle up at night time.”
Having a dog on campus can benefit everyone. Seeing Jack has the ability to lighten up a stressful day for students, faculty and staff.
“When you look at that small little pup, you just want to squeeze it because he’s so adorable,” Springfield junior Ben Ryan said. “He has the most adorable eyes, and I wish I had my own. You can’t look at him and not smile.”
“People seem to get some support from him and some affection,” Cooper added. “It’s a feel-good moment to interact with him. He’s been fitting in really well.”
Unlike most puppies, Jack has not had any problems going to the bathroom in the house. Cooper and her family have made great success on training him to let them know when he has to go.
Jack is undoubtedly the cutest dog this campus has seen in awhile, and I’m sure he’ll still be just as cute when Cooper returns from China.
Greg can be reached at @GregAllen20