Meet Naci: The Service Dog Who Took The Beaver Stadium Student Section By Storm
Penn State football defeated UMass 63-0 this past Saturday in cold, rainy conditions. Despite the blowout and less-than-ideal weather, some fans stuck around for the entirety of the game.
One of the fans who stuck it out in Beaver Stadium’s south end zone was Naci, the one-year-old dog wearing a Nittany Lion football jersey and immediate Jumbotron magnet.
Naci is the service dog of Savannah Bauer, a Penn State junior with PTSD. Bauer most often has episodes when she’s in large crowds, which is why Naci was with her at the game.
“He’s really good with big crowds, so if I get an episode, he can help me calm down,” Bauer said. “He makes me feel a lot more comfortable with going out.”
This was the first Penn State football game that Bauer attended, and initially, she had many doubts about how accommodating Beaver Stadium would be with allowing a dog in. However, those doubts quickly went away when she realized how welcoming Penn State was.
“It was so cool that Penn State allowed me to do that. Once I saw on the website that service animals were allowed in, I was so happy,” she said. “I was able to go and enjoy my time without being fearful.”
The duo started the game in regular seats, but after noticing how much the student section had emptied out by the third quarter, they made their way to it, finding their new seats in the first row behind the end zone.
“If we were going to attend a football game, our mission was to get into the student section and see what it was like,” Bauer said.
The reality of being in the student section with her dog exceeded expectations for Bauer, and it was “insane, big, and unexpected.” She said the reality of a Beaver Stadium student section experience was nothing like what it looks like on TV.
Like Bauer used to, her parents watched the game on TV from their home in California.
“My dad called me immediately, and he was like ‘I saw you and the dog on TV.’ My parents were so proud. They even posted it on Facebook,” she said.
Bauer and Naci enjoyed the game so much that they will also be in attendance at the game against Rutgers on Saturday, November 18.
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The Onward State crew headed to the Motor City for some football, pizza, and a swing set overlooking Canada.
Tickets for the event will go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, December 1.