By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Children were in awe as a furry visitor stopped by McElroy Hall Thursday to greet them. Rossi the Approval Poodle and her owner Judy Savage arrived at the building as one of their last stops on a very busy day at Oklahoma State University.
“I love OSU,” Savage said. “(OSU President) Burns and Ann (Hargis) are dear friends.”
Having already visited counseling services, child development and a residential hall Thursday, Rossi and Savage took time to meet children and sign their book, “Rossi the Approval Poodle Shares Rules for Living a Happier & Healthier Life.”
“Rossi is a registered standard poodle,” Savage said. “She’s a therapy dog; has been a therapy dog for over 4 years. She goes to a couple of hospitals in Oklahoma City. She’s with the library reading to a dog program with Metropolitan Library System.”
However, Rossi became the subject of her own book because of Savage’s grandchildren.
“I have a granddaughter,” she said. “Last March, she was teasing her sibling. She’s 4 years old. And she was teasing one of her siblings and I asked her to stop teasing her brother and she ignored me.”
Savage said the grandchildren love Rossi. Savage struck a deal with her granddaughter Jane Marie.
“I said, ‘Rossi is the approval poodle and she’s the dog who approves of good behavior,’” she said.
If Jane Marie behaved, she could have a paw print stamp of approval. Savage said it was a hit.
“That night, I thought about Rossi and I thought, ‘Gosh, if children don’t obey and listen to adults, perhaps they would listen and obey to a dog,’” she said. “So, that night I wrote the book.”
The Oklahoma City native said she had always wanted a poodle.
“They don’t shed, which is wonderful,” Savage said. “She became a therapy dog. She’s always been very cool, calm and collected and so we started the training and she did quite well. That’s when she started her service, her volunteer work at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City and also Mercy Hospital.”