Sparky Stefanatos, a 7-year-old labradoodle, is one of the quartet of therapy dogs at Wicker Wellness Center. A native of Glenfield, N.Y., in the western foothills of the Adirondacks, he was adopted when he was a puppy from Otter Creek Boxers and Doodles by Director of Health Services Angela Stefanatos and her husband, Ron Frering. Other family members include daughter Emily Phillips ’21 and 15-year-old Max Frering. Sparky’s sister is labradoodle Ruby, an older, more rambunctious sibling.
Sparky comes to campus every day. Throughout the academic year, he takes part in a variety of special programs, including wellness days, flu clinics, Admitted Students Day and stress-reducing events during finals week. Students regularly play with him and take him out for strolls. Often, faculty members bring him to class (although, ever discreet, he prefers not to rate his favorite classes or professors). His best friends are his companion therapy canines at Wicker – Margot, Mally and Eve, who also enjoy frolicking, going to classes or being taken for an invigorating stroll around campus.
FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING:
Instagram. I follow Dogs of Instagram.
ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:
"Clifford the Big Red Dog” was a puppy favorite of mine (though the movie was nothing to write home about). Also: “Portrait of the Artist as a Dog” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” I give four paws up to “How to Teach Physics to Your Dog” by Union’s very own Chad Orzel.
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED:
Clearing the air after a little dustup is important for building relationships that have legs.
FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS:
The circular bench next to Viniar Athletic Center. I often score pizza crust.
A peanut butter-filled bone
NETFLIX OR AMAZON:
I’m a Netflix guy. I recently watched “The Power of the Dog.” Overrated, frankly, but great title. I’ll sit through anything that features my favorite actors, which include Brad Pitbull, Madogna, Sandra Bulldog, Kurt Russell Terrier and Bark Ruffalo. As you may have guessed, I’m a real TV hound. My preferred show is “Lucky Dog.”
“In Dogs We Trust.” It’s fun hearing stories about dogs (and sure, even cats), and how much they enrich humans’ lives. “No Bad Dogs” and “The Woof Life Show” are two others I can sink my teeth into.
ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD:
I’ve always wanted to paint. I could see myself as part of the Bow-Wow movement or doing something in the style of Van Dogh, Pawcasso or Dogas, perhaps using my tail as a tool. And printmaking naturally intrigues me. I could do some good paw prints and possibly nose prints, and express myself authentically in the process. Actually, I think I’ll romp over to the Visual Arts building right now…
BEST PART OF YOUR DAY:
The best part is when a friendly student signs me out for a walk. You never know who you’ll meet; maybe even Hershey and Teddy, the presidential pooches. And the tales students tell about their professors! (I won’t disclose.)