collage of images featuring golden retriever puppy

Puppy Love Washes Over WPI

Newest face in Residential Services family to start therapy certification training
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June 26, 2023

The newest addition to the the Housing & Residential Experience Center team is also the cutest. And the most popular around campus. Oh, and the fluffiest.

If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, meet Franklin.

Born on Valentine’s Day (no lie!), this golden retriever has stolen WPI’s heart. He lives in Founders Hall with community director Jordan Monts and his girlfriend, Annabel Shackett. Franklin is their family dog, but he is quickly becoming a friend to the entire WPI community, a fact that thrills Monts and Shackett.

“Mental health concerns really went up during the pandemic,” says Monts. “Connecting with a dog makes so many people so happy, so when Annabel and I decided to get a puppy, I asked my supervisor if it could be part of campus life to help give students a sense of being at home.”

Franklin got to work right away. Or almost right away. He spent the first two months of his life in a tiny town in Connecticut, and it took him a couple weeks to get used to campus noise and Worcester traffic. Once he got his (floppy) feet under him, he made appearances during Senior Week and other end-of-year events.

Monts also organized Finals with Franklin, inviting students to drop by Founders Hall, grab a donut, and enjoy some QT with this four-legged cutie. At any given time during that period, Monts says, 15–20 students hung out with the new canine member of the WPI family and decompressed.

In July Franklin will start training to become a certified therapy dog. The four-monthslong program includes going away, without Monts and Shackett, for two weeks of intensive sessions. “He’ll be learning how to care for humans,” says Shackett, who is a nurse and has always wanted to work with therapy animals.

Once Franklin has earned his certification, he’ll wear a special vest when he’s on duty and admirers should ask permission before petting him. Monts will have office hours with Franklin and plans to bring him to other events around campus as appropriate.

Preview golden retriever puppy

Franklin’s Favorites

Food: Mangoes, strawberries, peanut butter 

Flower: Dandelions 

TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy 

Sport: Soccer 

Lab on Campus: Bella 

Campus Beautification Project: Sniffing out litter and waiting while Jordan picks it up 

Instagram Feed: thegoldenfranklin 

Franklin has already been in almost every building on campus (after some persistent but gentle coaxing he now loves the Unity Hall elevator)—but Monts never assumes that people want to interact. Out in public, Franklin is always on a leash, and when he does accompany Monts to the office, there’s a physical barrier to separate him from those who are afraid of or allergic to dogs.  

“Jordan knows that not everyone loves dogs, and he’s following all the campus pet policies, including providing notification of the presence of a dog for those who aren’t comfortable or have allergies,” says Matt Foster, director of the Housing & Residential Experience Center.

On the whole, though, Franklin spreads joy wherever he trots—as seen in the video below. 

Like Bella, the much-loved WPI Campus Police K-9, Franklin can be an ice breaker and community builder, says Foster, which is important on a college campus. “This type of opportunity allows for students to connect with the professional staff member in their residence hall and gives them a chance to socialize with their peers and have some fun,” Foster says. “All of these things help students establish a sense of belonging in their residence hall and within the campus community.”

In other words, it helps strengthen the WPI herd. Or the pack, as it were.

(Photos courtesy of Jordan Monts; video by Steve Foskett.)