In Memoriam: Red Dogg, emotional support animal and Campus Safety officer

Officer Red Dogg inspects a suspicious lamp post in front of Harwood Dorm at Pomona College in 2017. (Adela Pfaff • The Student Life)

Claremont will have one fewer four-legged friend this semester. Red Dogg, a brown-spotted beagle who served as a Campus Safety Officer and emotional support animal for about a year and a half, died Jan. 22 after “a series of severe health-related issues.”

Dogg, known by his social media handle, “Red the Wonder Dogg,” was regarded by his Campus Safety colleagues and students across the 7Cs as an exceptional therapy animal and community aid, according to an email sent from Campus Safety Director Stan Skipworth to TSL.

“I think Red’s lasting influence is that he helped to create very new ways for our department to become more connected to so many more among the colleges,” Skipworth wrote in an email to TSL. “He also helped our own team see opportunities to have more fun while we serve our students, staff and faculty.”

Dogg’s death was announced to Campus Safety officers Tuesday at 2:23 p.m. via an End of Watch Call, a traditional radio announcement generally used to broadcast the death of a public safety officer. He was 11 years old, which equates to about 60 human years.

According to the radio message, Dogg began working as the 7C’s first animal ambassador in August of 2017, after being rescued from severe storms in Kentucky and adopted by Skipworth’s family. Skipworth introduced the idea of employing a Campus Safety dog to connect the 7C community with Campus Safety officials and resources.

“Red added a very different and important element to our organization’s character and image,” Skipworth wrote in the email to the Claremont Colleges consortium staff. “Red helped us become better as a team.”

During his brief tenure, Dogg attended campus events, informed students of campus safety announcements through appearances and social media posts and acted as a resource for emotional support to many students.

Just before his death, Dogg took part in a pain management program under the direction of a veterinarian, which allowed him to spend some final time with Skipworth’s family before passing away.

Skipworth said Dogg’s presence at the 7Cs opens the door for the potential future employment of emotional service animal ambassadors.

“To me, he was like a best friend,” said Sgt. Raul Saucedo, a Campus Safety officer, in an email to TSL. “Every time I was on duty he would lay by my feet. … He gave us unconditional love and would rejuvenate us when we were having a tough day.”

Saucedo recalled a time a student came to Campus Safety feeling “depressed and overwhelmed.

“We let her take Red into the conference room and spend one-on-one time with him,” he said. “When she came out, she told us she felt better. She thanked us and she thanked Red.”

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