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Four-legged resident happy to see students return to NIC Residence Hall

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North Idaho College resident assistant Jeff Howard and Harrison the dog play in the NIC Residence Hall. North Idaho College resident assistant Jeff Howard and Harrison the dog play in the NIC Residence Hall.

Dorm dog is excited to see NIC Residence Hall residents returning for fall semester.

Most people who work on a college campus are excited for fall—when students return to campus, infusing it with new energy and enthusiasm.

But no one is happier than Harrison.

“He’s really excited,” said North Idaho College resident assistant Frances Walker as Harrison, a 3-year-old Doxen, danced in circles at her feet. “He’s not usually this excited.”

Harrison lives in the NIC Residence Hall where more than 200 students moved back in Aug. 23 in preparation for fall semester. And after a long summer of darkened, empty corridors, Harrison can’t contain his enthusiasm as he sees the hall begin to fill up with students again.

“He was pretty depressed on graduation day—seeing all of ‘his’ students moving stuff out,” said NIC Residence Life Manager Paula Czirr.

Czirr lives in an apartment full time in the NIC Residence Hall, overseeing the residents and seven resident assistants who are each responsible for a different area of the hall. Czirr said many of the resident assistants are returning to the hall this year and Harrison recognizes each of them, despite their three-month hiatus this summer. And she has seen Harrison’s excitement growing by the day as the hall becomes more active with open houses, resident assistant training and students moving in.

Harrison was a rescue dog and already a member of Czirr’s family that moved with her from Missouri when she accepted this residence life manager position at NIC in 2007. Harrison quickly adopted all of the students as his own “kids” and is possessive of the entire campus, Czirr said.

“He is very protective of all his residents and I’m also fairly sure that he considers this entire campus his yard,” Czirr said.

While the students bring joy to Harrison’s days, he fills a void for them as well. The residents are not allowed to have pets, except fish, in the hall and many are missing their family pets at home.

“Students stop by and want to borrow Harrison,” Czirr said. “He’ll go up to their room or go sit by the fireplace, or they’ll take him for a walk. He’s kind of been the interim dog for them while they’re away from their own pets.”

Harrison has participated in the security of the hall as well, taking part in several busts on campus. While Czirr is walking him and her other dog Larry, they often bust students with alcohol and have even witnessed a hit and run.

“So many incident reports would start off, ‘Paula Czirr was walking Harrison when…’” Czirr said. “Harrison and Larry have been nicknamed H & L Security. We’re trying to find shirts to make it official.”

The NIC Residence Hall is full this semester with 202 residents. Fall semester began Aug. 24.

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Stacy Hudson is the Public Information Coordinator for North Idaho College

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