Oregon State University: Wellness dog provides support, stress relief on OSU Corvallis campus

The Oregon State University Department of Public Safety officially welcomed Cedar, a 17-month-old black Lab, to the team this April to serve as the department’s wellness dog.

“Cedar will provide calming and comforting support and stress relief to the OSU Corvallis campus community, as well as members of the Department of Public Safety,” said Shanon Anderson, associate vice president for public safety and chief of police.

Cedar was pinpointed as the dog for the job during his first visit to campus, Anderson said.

“His incredible love of people and his desire to interact with everyone he meets are a few of the traits that make him a great wellness dog,” she said.

DPS reached out to Working Dogs Oregon to learn more about bringing a wellness dog to campus. Working Dogs Oregon is a nonprofit that places canines with law enforcement agencies throughout the state.

Darin Campbell, executive director for Working Dogs Oregon, identified Cedar as a good candidate for OSU.

“He wants to be everywhere and anywhere people are, all the time,” Campbell said. “Cedar is an incredibly social and happy boy. He has a strong foundation of training and he’s a great fit for OSU.”

In the coming months, DPS will work to establish a team of handlers and care providers for Cedar. Cedar and the team will continue to receive handler training and support from Working Dogs Oregon.

The new four-legged team member will live at Cascade Hall, where he’ll be able to hang out and receive supervision from DPS staff. Because DPS is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Cedar will have a safe and familiar place to work, rest, play and train when he’s not out serving the Corvallis campus along with trained DPS staff.

“Having Cedar on campus helps balance the needs of the community and the DPS team,” Anderson said.

Public Safety Officer Jacob Kulik said the addition of a wellness dog serves as a great way to connect public safety staff and campus police officers with the campus community and visitors.

“Having a dog as part of the team is pretty awesome. We took Cedar with us to Dutch Bros. the last time he was here for a visit, and students and other people wanted to come up and talk to us about him,” Kulik said.

“People are welcome to greet Cedar if they spot him on campus,” Anderson said. “Providing people with opportunities to interact with Cedar is part of his role as a wellness dog. As he gets more settled into his new home, additional events will be scheduled where Cedar will interact with the campus community.”

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