As the end of the semester approaches, students begin to think of possible living arrangements for the fall. Well, they’re not alone — Loyola’s own therapy dog Tivo is looking for a new roommate.
If you don’t already know Tivo, he’s the cute 8-year-old black labrador retriever walking around campus. A partner of the Wellness Center, he helps comfort students during their stressful college lives. You can visit him at the Wellness Center, schedule an appointment with him in a residence hall or meet him at one of his many Tivo Talk appearances around campus.
The Wellness Center was interested in developing a program with a therapy dog back in 2012. The only problem was trying to find housing for the new canine staff member, so the Wellness Center turned to the Jesuit community.
At the time, the Jesuit community wasn’t the best fit because of the amount of traffic the Jesuit House saw on a daily basis. Father Justin Daffron, a member of the Jesuit community and vice president of advancement at Loyola, was in the process of moving to Campion Hall when he was asked to partner with the Wellness Center to take care of Tivo.
“When I was moving to Campion they asked if I would [take in Tivo] and I accepted their invitation,” he said.
Daffron said he enjoys having Tivo as a roommate.
“I think that my popularity ratings rose when I became partnered with Tivo because everyone was excited to see Tivo, and I’m a nice enough guy but people usually aren’t excited to see me,” said Daffron. “He brings a lot of joy to a lot of people and so that’s kind of the core of my mission too, to bring joy, and I never knew it would be through a dog.”
In a letter to the Loyola community on April 14, Interim President John Pelissero announced Daffron will depart at the end of the semester as requested by his Jesuit province, the provincial of the Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus. Many are left wondering where Tivo will live.
With news of Daffron’s departure, Associate Director of the Wellness Center Joan Holden took Tivo in, and he will be residing with Holden from now on.
Wellness Center staff members are discussing succession plans for Tivo because they’re interested in continuing the program and want to be prepared, according to Holden.
“No plans have been made but discussion is taking place because we realize Tivo is getting older and he won’t live forever,” she said.
Holden said she is proud of the success of Tivo’s dog therapy program.
“I am happy that people are interested in Tivo and that students are interested in the program,” said Holden. “I really do think he brings happiness to students.”
After 11 years at Loyola, Daffron plans to continue on to new opportunities in higher education but he said leaving the university and Tivo is bittersweet and he will miss their relationship.
“Sometimes there is a need to move on for our own growth and development, and it’s one of those situations,” Daffron said. “But I feel like the relationships will continue to exist and the good news is that the program will go forward.”