CWU Facility Dog featured on nonprofit organization’s website

  • October 9, 2023
  • David Leder

Central Washington University’s favorite Facility Dog, Archie, and his handler were featured last week on the Dogs For Better Lives website.

CWU Police Officer Mackenzie Erickson, who helped bring Archie to campus last spring, answered a series of questions for the October 3 article, titled “Archie the Facility Dog: A Pawsitive Influence on CWU’s Campus Community.”

Erickson serves as the primary handler for Archie, a yellow Labrador retriever who was trained by Dogs For Better Lives beginning in early 2023. The nonprofit organization, with campuses in Oregon and Massachusetts, has been training and placing assistance dogs across the United States since 1977.

The organization’s mission is to professionally train dogs to help people and enhance lives while maintaining a lifelong commitment to all dogs they rescue or breed, and the people they serve. Dogs for Better Lives is one of the few national Assistance Dog organizations that trains shelter dogs to become Service Dogs.

Facility Dogs like Archie are trained to do specific, skilled tasks and placed with working professionals or volunteers to help support them in their work with vulnerable populations and persons with disabilities (physical, mental, cognitive, sensory, or developmental).

They go to work with and assist professionals such as physicians, teachers, counselors, police officers, and child advocates. Archie began his training in early 2023, learning tasks like lap, settle, place, touch, and shake.

Archie was placed with Erickson in May and was sworn in as an official member of the CWUPD on May 31. His role is to provide community engagement, crisis response, and stress relief for CWU students, faculty, and staff.

“Since Archie has joined the CWU Police Department, he has constantly made an impact on morale within our department and staff around CWU,” Erickson said in the article. “Several departments have requested to meet Archie, and it is clear that he helps make everyone’s day better.”

Erickson also shared that Archie recently had his first call-out to comfort people in the campus community following a tragic event.

“It was great to see Archie’s presence help the victim by calming them down, helping them remember things about the incident to assist responding officers, and being a great distraction,” she said.

When Archie isn’t working, he lives at Erickson’s home outside of Ellensburg and has developed a strong friendship with her dog, Taneum.

Chief of Staff Andrew Morse was also quoted in the article, saying, “In just his short time on campus, Archie has had a tremendously positive impact on the entire CWU community. His calming presence and friendly demeanor have brought joy to our students, faculty, and staff, and we have been so happy to welcome him as a member of the Wildcat family.”

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