Sierra Madre Residence Hall not only hosts students, but also a dorm dog –– Arlo.
Arlo is a Chihuahua, German Shepherd and Corgi mix and his effect on others is described as “phenomenal” by his owner, L Del Rio.
Animal science freshman Del Rio adopted Arlo in December and registered him as an emotional support animal. After getting the required shots for him, Arlo began living with her. Having a dog on campus with her has made the college transition easier, she said.
Del Rio used to live in the North Mountain Residence Hall, but moved off campus to live with her aunt. While Del Rio does not live on campus anymore, she still had to go through campus requirements in order to register him. Del Rio and Arlo frequent the third floor of Sierra Madre where Arlo interacts with other students. Del Rio and Arlo go everywhere together.
Under Cal Poly policy, pets are not permitted on campus except in cases that the pets are registered service animals. The Disability Resource Center and University Housing determine the eligibility of on-campus housing for students seeking to house service animals.
For Del Rio, having Arlo on campus has made her social life much easier and for other students living in Sierra Madre Tower 1, residents have said the community in the building has increased.
“I know around here we all have had stressful days and we start playing with Arlo … he’s really doing his job as an emotional support animal. It’s really cool,” Gabby Silva, landscape architecture freshman, said.
Del Rio said she hopes that Arlo can make a difference for students, as he has for her and dealing with her anxiety.
“We all run towards him and then we just like start talking to each other,” Silva said, who has taken care of Arlo on a few occasions.
Another resident, landscape architecture freshman Nathan Fadick, has taken care of Arlo as well and sees him when Arlo and Del Rio visit.
“[Arlo is] oftentimes just wandering around on our floor and sometimes, if I leave my door open, he’ll just wander in and just kind of lay on the rug,” Fadick said.
He said that one time he went up to the third floor and some people linked his and Arlo’s appearance together.
“Some people, they’re like, ‘oh you look like Shaggy from Scooby Doo, go find Scooby!,’” Fadick said.
Arlo goes everywhere with Del Rio –– except for work, which is when others get involved in watching him.
“We have this little floor thing where whoever takes care of Arlo when I go to work or need someone to take care of them, they get points and whoever has the most, wins [and] gets a pizza party,” Del Rio said.
For Arlo, Del Rio created the account @dormdog_arlo in January to “share the love of him,” as she said she hopes that Arlo can make a difference for others as he has made for her.