Furry friend provides comfort for freshmen residents


Courtesy of Adam Sibenaller

by Jada Johnson, Contributor

Gladys lives on the first floor of the Maya Olmeca Residence Hall. She’s fluffy with white and black fur, and she also goes by a nickname: Muffin. She even goes out to see the residents on rare occasions.

Gladys is Residence Hall Coordinator Adam Sibenaller’s miniature schnauzer. She’s a 3-year-old rescue, who’s been with Sibenaller for about a year.

“She’s my unofficial stress relief dog,” he said.

The Residential Education Office allows the coordinators to own a house pet, which means some students get to enjoy having a pet around despite restrictions on having animals in the halls.

But students say Gladys is more than just a pet. Not only is Sibenaller attached to the dog, the residents are as well.

Sibenaller’s room is in the same hallway as the boys living on the first floor of Maya, which means freshmen engineering students Garen Stein and Will Patterson get to see Gladys whenever she comes out for a stroll.

When the schnauzer is released, Stein doesn’t even leave his room to say hello.

“She actually comes to us, that’s the best part,” he said.

Patterson’s family has two dogs, and he says having a fluffy friend across the hall helps make the dorms feel more like a home.

“It’s cool to have Gladys around,” he said.  

When residents’ parents came to visit during family weekend, Sibenaller said many asked him how Gladys was doing.

“They remember her name, but not mine,” he said.

Patterson and Stein said sometimes it’s rare for Gladys to come out. It’s a treat to see her, Stein said.

“It’s like when you forget that you ordered Girl Scout cookies,” he said. “Then they come and it’s just an amazing feeling.”

In an effort to see Gladys more, the two guys from Maya wrote on the whiteboard pinned to Sibenaller’s door, “Set Muffin Free!”

And yes, they’ve also tried to start a hashtag: “#FreeGladys2015.”

Sibenaller, taking these comments into consideration, is planning to have a “Gladys Night.”

“It’ll be a de-stress from midterms where the residents can come, eat, and spend time with Gladys,” he said. “She’s the perfect fit for this high energy environment.”

Sibenaller plans to host these events before Thanksgiving and Christmas break. The holiday timing would be fitting because, as Sibenaller said, Gladys is a very loving companion.

“The only thing she cares about is love,” he said.

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