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Jan. 27, 2012
The New Student on Campus
Bomb-sniffing dog to be trained by Trinity University community
By Andrea Davis '12
SAN ANTONIO - Trinity University recently welcomed a new student to campus: Jurgens. The four-month old yellow Labrador will spend from now until October 2012 learning how to be bold and adventurous, her first steps towards becoming a bomb-sniffing dog for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Borne out of previous interactions between the TSA at Lackland Air Force Base and Trinity University, Jurgens was the evolution of previous puppy hosting events on campus. Senior Natalie Brown, editor of Trinity's yearbook - the Mirage - brought puppies from the TSA to campus as incentives for students to take their yearbook photos.
Puppies also came to campus to help students play off some stress during finals. Because of the success of these events, David Tuttle, associate vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, and Katharine Martin, adviser to Campus Publications, explored the idea of having a TSA puppy on campus year-round.
"The final exam stress-relief dog petting programs were such a hit we thought 'why not have a full-time dog for our students?'" Tuttle said. "This program is great for student puppy lovers and is good community service, too."
Students must first be trained to work with Jurgens, and that duty has fallen to Martin, who sees the puppy as a positive influence for students and faculty.
"I think she's a bonding mechanism," Martin said. "I think there are people who are invested in her progress, who watch her grow and develop."
TSA's Puppy Program was implemented after the 9/11 tragedy in an attempt to avoid future bomb attacks on the nation. As part of the protocol, the dogs are named in honor of the heroes of 9/11, according to their litter letter. Born as part of litter J, Jurgens is named in honor of Paul W. Jurgens of Long Island, 47-year-old Port Authority police officer who was killed that day.
Now, according to Brown, students have a puppy to play with and are giving back to the nation by training Jurgens.
"Now that we have Jurgens, I can get my fill of fetch, tug-of-war, and puppy enthusiasm - all for a good cause," she said. "It's doubly rewarding."
For more information about Jurgens, click here or visit Jurgens on her Facebook and Twitter pages.
Text provided by Andrea Davis of Farmington, N.M., a candidate for graduation from Trinity University in May 2012 with a degree in history and English. She is a student worker in the Office of University Communications.