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Puppies, people and porches

Puppies, people and porches

Thomas M. Columbus December 18, 2020

She played with puppies. She tutored a high school student. She enjoyed UD life with her apartment mates. A pretty normal life for a Dayton undergrad.

Then came COVID-19, her immersion trip to Puerto Rico was canceled and campus emptied. The question arose, “Do we come back?”

Allison Lanzotti on her front porch. PPhoto by Meredith Robinson“I thought of staying home,” Allison Lanzotti said. “I talked with my roommates. If we had been entering freshmen, we may have decided to go to community colleges.”

But they had been to UD. They had the experience of living and learning together. That was something they did not want to give up.

The pandemic, however, also had an effect on her family.

“My dad owns a few bars and restaurants,” she said. “All were hit hard. One had to shut down permanently. Another also may close.”

She needed loans to return to school. She also was awarded the Daniel Curran Family Scholarship.

So she came back, fall term living in a house with five other students. A health science major, she will graduate Dec. 19 but walk (whether figuratively or literally) in May. During the spring term, she will earn money for graduate school; the occupational therapy schools she is applying to have academic years beginning in summer or fall.

Her traveling to Xenia, Ohio, to play with puppies at 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit which places service dogs with children and veterans, has turned out to be more than a service opportunity.

“4 Paws made me think of occupational therapy in new ways,” she said.

Her work there was to help socialize and train puppies, taking them for walks, playing with them and giving them baths. She enjoyed the work partially because “there were dogs everywhere!” and because she knew they would grow up to help people.

“There were dogs everywhere!”

She herself was also helping a person, tutoring a high school boy with autism.

“He’s super smart,” she said, “but not very social. With a dog, he could walk in a public place and interact with people.”

Dogwalkers do have a common bond.

And bonds between people seem to be a UD thing. Lanzotti remembers she had no intention of going to UD: “I have a couple of cousins who went here. My high school counselor loves UD; his daughter went here.” She didn’t want to go somewhere just because other people had.

“I thought maybe I would not apply,” she said. “My mom made me.”

It was the last school she visited.

“People say that when you visit,” she said, “you know you want to come here. That sounds cheesy. But it’s true. Everyone is so welcoming.

“People say that when you visit, you know you want to come here. That sounds cheesy. But it’s true.”

“I feel like I could walk up to anybody’s house and be friends with the people there.”

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