Who will let the dogs back in: A history of Bus, the Westmont dog
Views 77 | Time to read: 2 minutes | Uploaded: 10 - 4 - 2017 | By: Erik Hansen
Community. The Westmont buzzword. If Westmont’s mission, values, and goals all boiled down to one thing, community would be the centerfold. Through this community, Westmont can become like a home. Students live together, eat together, pray together. But many students find this community lacking one home essential: a dog. This dog could roam campus at its will, stay in different dorms different weeks, and be a service to every student. Currently no dog serves that role, but in the late 60’s, Westmont had such a companion. A treat named Bus.
Bus, a greyhound whose name is a pun on less than beloved long distance coach, served the school simply by existing. A former greyhound racing dog, Westmont rescued Bus from likely death. Although he surely enjoyed the creature comforts a quiet Montecito retirement offered, he still had the bug for racing. Staff say he loved attending the push-cart races held by students, as shown in the photo from 1968. Westmont code prevented him from gambling, though. He stayed in the residence halls and students could walk him and play with him when they pleased. He served the school admirably before his death a few years later.
He is gone and unfortunately nearly forgotten, but his legacy may yet survive. Compilations of studies point to dogs helping mental health, happiness, and productivity. Faculty interview by the Horizon said Bus brought that and more with his never-say-die attitude and his sensitive eyes.
A few dogs currently drop by campus. Dr. Chapman walks his chocolate lab Maestro around school. Dr. Howell and his yellow lab Dickens peruse the campus. There’s also Bella, the certified therapy dog, down at the health center. These dogs and many others offer some of the help Bus gave the school, but greater limitations restrict students’ time with those dogs. In the spirit of Bus, if a campus dog does ever return to campus, they might help students in hard times, give students an excuse to play, and most importantly, make Westmont even more of a family.