Dog on Campus

Dak, a Labradoodle puppy, sports Virginia Tech gear, Apr. 11, 2019.

Dogs are often a source of happiness for Virginia Tech students. After a stressful week or a tough exam, a quick interaction with a dog can brighten a previously anxiety-filled day. But, can you hit the right spot on the sidewalk or Drillfield path, on the right day, and possibly, maybe, see a furry friend? 

Well, finding a friendly dog to warm your day is harder when you’re actually trying to find one. There’s no perfect way to find a dog friend. Yet, the unexpectedness can make the human-dog interaction even more wholesome. When you’re missing your own dog(s) and are longing for that innocent love, a dog will sniff you out. So, don’t worry, you’ll cross paths with at least one dog during your week — hopefully. If not, maybe settle for a classic Virginia Tech squirrel instead. 

However, if you’re in desperate need of some puppy love, stop by the outside area of Deet’s Place. Occasionally, two playful young labs lay underneath an outdoor table while their owners sit above them. If you encounter them, take a moment to pet the dogs and have a conversation with the owners. 

Also, the Drillfield tends to be a popular hangout choice for dogs with their owners. You can catch a few dogs running about the grass or playing with other canines. Although, as the season approaches winter, the dog sightings might become minimal depending on the temperature. But, if you have a strong desire to see a dog on the Drillfield during the winter months — bundle up. Unfortunately, humans don’t have fur.  

Additionally, Virginia Tech’s Duck Pond, located at the corner of campus along Duck Pond Drive, is often a walking destination for many locals and students with dogs. Especially during fall, the Duck Pond is a desirable location for many with a wide array of autumn colors. So, you’re more than likely to have a run-in with a few dogs on any given fall day.

“I gasp, and then I point at them, and then I get excited, and then I tell everybody, ‘Look there’s a dog!’” said freshman fine arts major, Maria Martinez.

On the weekends, Main Street becomes a favored walking destination for dogs and their families. An abundance of dogs of varying sizes and breeds case the street, welcoming pets from strangers. So, try venturing downtown for the opportunity to meet locals, students and their dogs as you take in Blacksburg culture. 

Similarly, many restaurants in downtown Blacksburg are dog-friendly. Restaurants like The Cellar, Benny Marzano’s, Green’s and Cabo Fish Taco have outdoor seating areas which are easily accessible areas to encounter dogs.

Although, if you’re trying to interact with dogs in more definitive and warmer locations on campus, make your way over to Newman Library, Squires Student Center, Cook Counseling Center or the Women’s Resource Center. According to Virginia Tech Helping Pet Assisted Wellness Service (PAWS), therapy dogs can be found visiting the listed locations throughout the months. Especially during exam season, the therapy dogs will visit the library to help ease the stress of finals. Additionally, therapy dogs can be seen helping with counseling sessions. 

Not located on Virginia Tech’s campus, but still a nearby opportunity to come across dogs, is the Blacksburg Dog Park, off Toms Creek Road. Open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, the dog park serves as an environment where dogs can play with each other. Even if you don’t have a dog to bring, you could try stopping by to play with some of the dogs.

“I always just run up to the person and ask, ‘Can I please pet your dog?’ and they always say, ‘Yeah, that’s why I bring my dog here,’” said junior human development major Sarah Baldwin.

So, when you do cross paths with that special friend, be kind. They’ll always be happy to see you –– and you’ll always make their day, more so than they’ll make yours. Although, always make sure you have the owner’s permission before petting their dog.

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