UNF’s resident canine professor

Nathan Turoff, Critter Columnist

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A dog is man’s best friend. This relationship is no more apparent then with Eli: UNF’s resident therapy dog.

Eli, and his human partner, Dr. Carlene Taylor, teach many classes together. Dr. Taylor has been practicing with dogs and horses since the mid 90’s. She knew Eli before he was born, as she chose his breed and parents, and was there when he was born. Eli is a Portuguese water dog, a very selective and controlled breed, and was chosen for his increased intelligence and independence compared to other dog breeds.

Jennifer Grissom

Jennifer Grissom

Eli has undergone extensive service and therapy training, with numerous certifications that require bi-annual renewal. He has the highest certification possible, and is officially labeled as a professor and staff member. Dr. Taylor has also given Eli numerous custom training, such as to play games and introduce himself to strangers.

Jennifer Grissom

Jennifer Grissom

Dr. Taylor has built her program with Eli from the ground-up over the past 3 years. In the words of Dr. Taylor, “Animals are social lubricants”. Dogs are always in the moment, and they make great support animals because of this. Dr. Taylor says that students love to interact with her and Eli, and has observed that, in class, Eli decreases anxiety and increases enjoyment.

Be sure to say hi to Eli and Dr. Taylor if you see them on campus!