Meet Luke The Lab: The Best Boy On Campus And CAPS’ Therapy Dog

Luke Doby is a friendly face on campus, one that’s sure to brighten your day. In fact, he’s so good at it that his official job is to make students smile.

Luke is Penn State’s therapy dog, and he works with his human, Maggie Doby, in the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) department on campus.

So what exactly is Luke’s job?

“Just to make people feel good,” Doby said. “As for Luke, his primary role on a college campus is to help relieve stress, provide little pockets of happiness for the students.”

Doby mentioned that as she and Luke walk around campus, she notices students look up from their phones, immediately become present, and smile.

There’s actually evidence to suggest that petting a dog can immediately help reduce stress.

Because of this, Doby likes to set up outreach events to allow students to see Luke throughout the semester, and to spread the word about services that CAPS provides.

Seeing a dog in general can make people feel better, but a dog in costume seems to multiply that effect.

To celebrate Halloween, Luke dressed up as an alligator.

About halfway through the event, however, he decided to do a costume change.

(What a fashion icon. 11/10.)

Doby said that Luke has gone through extensive training to become a therapy dog, including obedience training, the K9 Good Citizen program, and the Therapy Dogs International test.

This test includes an examination of the dog’s recall abilities, reaction to unusual situations like crowds or walkers/crutches, and the “leave it” command.

“The hardest one for him was to ‘Leave it,’ which is about food,” Doby said. “He’s a lab so, his DNA is just all about ‘How can I eat more?'”

Luke loves the attention from students, and as a huge dog lover herself, Doby felt that it was just a “natural next step” to incorporate Luke into her work as a therapist. In 2014, Maggie approached CAPS administrators to ask to include Luke in her job and received “a lot of support internally to grant me the go-ahead to get Luke certified.”

Luke was officially certified in 2015, and has been bringing his wagging tail and sloppy kisses to work ever since.

Aside from working, Luke’s favorite activities are going on hikes and swimming with his mom.

“He does not have the best reputation when it comes to food,” Doby said. “He’s a bit of a thief. Food is at the top of his list.”

You can follow Luke on Instagram @lukethelabpsu for updates on events where you, too, can pet the best boy on campus.

You can find more information about CAPS services and events here.

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About the Author

Mira DiBattiste

Mira is a senior studying industrial engineering from Pittsburgh, PA, making her a lifelong Penguins fan. You can probably find her in the HUB with an iced coffee, or in the best student section in all of college football. If you need a picture of your dog, want to discuss why Sheetz is better than Wawa, or why Canon is far superior to Nikon, send a DM to @miraniicole on twitter.

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