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Animals on Campus Spotlight: Mochi

by Alissa Brown

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Russell Phillips.

Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Russ Phillips’s canine companion, Mochi, is a campus celebrity. The five-year-old Labradoodle, known to assist Dr. Phillips with his lectures on Pet Therapy, is quickly warming the hearts of students and faculty alike.

 “He’s so happy here. He loves the attention,” Dr. Phillips said. 

Mochi adores people and loves to be petted. Mochi likes many things – toys, treats, and attention – but will sometimes have trouble interacting with other animals as the only dog Professor Phillips owns. Mochi becomes overjoyed when students are allowed to pet him, and when people interact with him in general.

 “He loves to please. He’s a people-pleaser,” Dr. Phillips said. 

Mochi is not a service animal, or an emotional support animal, but a trained and certified Pet Therapy dog. Dr. Phillips gives a lecture about the differences and explains Pet Therapy animals in his class. 

Pet Therapy animals are trained specifically to  “provide emotional support through companionship” unlike service and therapy dogs that require “much more training than PET Therapy” says Phillips in his lecture.

Mochi was trained at the Westmoreland County Obedience Club. Mochi was only a few months old when Dr. Phillips adopted him from IvyLane Labradoodles in Carlisle, Pa. Mochi, named after the Japanese treat, is known around campus, and by its owner, to be excitable and happy.

Mochi has been trained specifically to provide emotional support through companionship and is happy and helpful to all he meets. 

“I never was a dog person, really. Until Mochi. He really won my heart over,” Phillips said.

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