When Facility Dog Archie started his journey with Dogs for Better Lives (DBL), his Puppy Raisers could take him anywhere – from the dentist to the office and everywhere in between. He was such a calm and well-mannered puppy. When Archie came to the Dogs for Better Lives West Campus, our trainers knew he could be an ideal Facility Dog. He began his training in early 2023, learning tasks like lap, settle, place, touch, and shake.
In May of 2023, Archie was placed with Mackenzie, a police officer with Central Washington University (CWU). Archie works alongside Mackenzie for community engagement, crisis response, and stress relief for the student and staff population.
“In just his short time on campus, Archie has had a tremendously positive impact on the entire CWU community. His calming presence and friendly demeanor have brought joy to our students, faculty, and staff, and we have been so happy to welcome him as a member of the Wildcat family,” said CWU Chief of Staff Andrew Morse.
Archie’s impact on campus has been almost immediate! We recently caught up with Mackenzie to find out how Archie was doing as the “big dog” on campus.
Q: What prompted you to apply for a Facility Dog?
Mackenzie: I first heard of Facility Dogs in my line of work back in 2017 when I found out that Eastern Washington University had recently got one. I spoke with their handler at the time, and they told me all about positive impact their Facility Dog had on their community. Hearing the stories of their Facility Dog inspired me to start a Facility Dog Program at CWU. Plus, I love dogs, so having the opportunity to bring one to work with me sounded like the best job ever!
Q: What was it like meeting Archie?
I was very excited to hear that Dogs for Better Lives had a match for us! I had been trying to get this program going for so long, and it felt unreal that it finally was going to happen.
When I first met Archie, I remember him being very calm. It didn’t seem like much bothered him. Despite being in a new area with horses and other dogs as a distraction, plus plenty of wind, Archie remained cued in to Emily, a DBL field representative. I could tell right away that Archie’s personality and demeanor was going to be perfect for the job at CWU.
Q: Are there any specific moments or stories you can share where Archie made an impact on you, students, or staff?
Since Archie has joined the CWU Police Department, he has constantly made an impact on morale within our department and staff around CWU. Several departments have requested to meet Archie, and it is clear that he helps make everyone’s day better.
During “Welcome Weekend” at CWU, I gave a presentation to the incoming freshman about Archie. When I was done, one student asked if they could sit with us. They were petting and loving on Archie for the rest of the time we were there and told me that Archie was the first friend they had made.
The other week Archie had his first real call out. Without getting into the tragic details of the event itself, it was great to see Archie’s presence help the victim by calming them down, helping them remember things about the incident to assist responding officers, and being a great distraction.
Q: What are the student reactions to Archie?
The students love Archie! They are constantly taking selfies with him. Archie and I recently attended an open house for our Student Health and Wellness, which offers education, awareness, and advocacy on domestic violence and substance misuse. It was advertised that Archie was going to be there, and in under three hours, at least 150 students attended. Every student that walked in met Archie, petted him and asked about him. At one point, we had a circle of about 15 students sitting down around Archie, who was laying down sleeping.
Q: What does Archie like to do when he’s not working?
Archie and my dog, Taneum, love to play together. They will chase each other around the yard and take turns playing “keep away” from each other. Archie also loves to take naps!
Q: Is there anything you’d like to tell Archie’s Puppy Raiser?
I appreciate the time and effort that they put into raising Archie. Being a Puppy Raiser is certainly a selfless act, as I would imagine it would be hard to let go of the puppy when it turns in for training. However, I would like them to know that they are helping change lives and are making a positive impact through dogs they help to raise. Archie is a perfect example of that!
Facility Dogs are trained to do specific, skilled tasks and placed with working professionals or volunteers to help support them in their work with vulnerable populations and persons with disabilities (physical, mental, cognitive, sensory, or developmental). Learn more about Facility Dogs and apply to receive a dog for your workplace: dogsforbetterlives.org/facility-dogs