When people refer to the Concord Academy community, they often think of the students, faculty, and staff who live and learn at CA. And while these individuals are what make CA the vibrant place that it is, one would be remiss if they did not mention the four-legged friends of our community as well – campus pets. Many students say that spending time with campus pets brightens their day and helps them feel less stressed. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and CA’s transition to remote learning has made it more challenging to connect with all members of the community, especially campus pets. Despite these unprecedented circumstances, campus pets remain pillars of our community, and many adults are eager to share stories about their pets with CA.
Andrew Stevens, who teaches in CA’s English Department, welcomed his dog Penny to CA last fall. Named after Penelope in The Odyssey, Penny comes from Greenwood, Mississippi, the same town where Stevens and his partner, Sarah Franzen, were married. When asked whether Penny had ever had a memorable student-pet interaction, Stevens responded, saying, “in my first two weeks with Penny, she ran away on the lower fields into the woods. I sounded the email FYI alarm and my 9th graders streamed down to form a search line. Penny emerged from the bog, safely.”
CA Science Department Head, Amy Kumpel, has two dogs, named Tucker and Hershey. Tucker is a twelve-year-old Cocker Spaniel, and according to Kumpel, he “is a walking, breathing stuffed animal. His favorite place is on a pillow on the bed or couch. He hates going out for walks but doesn’t mind a leisurely stroll across the quad.” Tucker is also completely deaf, so Kumpel and her wife, Julie Merritt, communicate with him using hand signals.
Hershey is an eleven-year-old Cockapoo that the pair rescued from the Milton Animal League last October. He enjoys playing with other dogs on campus, and Kumpel says that “Hershey lives his best life when we can bark at cars going by, and since we live across from Ops & the Package Room, he LOVES barking at the delivery trucks that come by!”