Big Dog On Campus: Anna Gonzalez & Rafa

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By Katie Naphas /// Features Editor and Julie Oatfield /// Staff Writer

Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez is a well-known face around campus. Her fancy — and fantastic — dog, Rafa, on the other hand, is less of a figure around Lewis & Clark. To rectify that (and, admittedly, to get some good ol’ fashioned dog time), we visited the happy family to find out what makes this little dog the big man on campus.

PioLog: How did you and Rafa first meet?

Augusto Espiritu, Anna’s husband: Rafa was a present, a gift from [Anna’s] hairdresser in Illinois.

Anna Gonzalez: So this hairdresser breeds dogs as a hobby ’cause he likes animals. He always has a dog in the shop, and I always played with them and he goes, “You need a dog.” And I said, “I know, but I dunno if my husband’s gonna let me.” We’re not into buying dogs; we think should get them from shelters.

So he goes, “What if I give you one of them?” He lets me hold this one and I’m like, “Oh no!” And that’s how we got him.

PL: And then all the way to Oregon. For such a well-traveled dog, does he have a spot that he wants to go to?

AG: Well yes, his favorite spot is in old Champagn, Ill. where we used to be. ’Cause they had — well, he used to do blueberry facials. [laughs] The good news is I’m so open about how much I spoil my dog that everyone laughs. Like even Barry, the president.

PL: A very strange question: Does Rafa have any celebrity crushes, human or non-human?

AG: Ooh! I would love for him to be with the dog from “Modern Family”, Stella. I think he and Stella would hit it off. But like, I think he would probably like a bigger dog.

AE: His real girlfriend, though, is a bulldog named Bella. She lives back in Illinois.

AG: When we go to Illinois, we visit. We haven’t seen Bella in a year, and that makes me sad. So yeah, we have to visit her sometime soon.

AE: He’s been to more states than a lot of people.

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PL: And more countries — he’s been to France. What about friends on campus?

AG: I’m an expert now at how to get your dog in and out of this country. He’s going to Miami this month. [pauses] LC is such a good place to have your dogs. I know the students love them but it’s good for the staff. Our work gets so stressful it’s good to have some dog time. He’s friends with all the dogs here. He tries to make friends with cats but it doesn’t happen.

AE: Rafa thinks he’s a cat, though.

PL: Any cat habits?

AG: Yeah, you know how cats lick themselves? He does that. Japanese Chins, they’re like cats. They’re, like, almost cats.

AE: He tries to climb up on ledges. Oh, one more thing — I think he got this from that kind of cat-mimicking behavior — but if you make him run through plants on campus, he won’t step on any of them. He’ll go completely around them.

PL: What a dignified dog.

AE: Oh, tell ’em about the plastic surgery.

AG: We make a joke — so Japanese Chins, if you Google them, they usually have smaller noses, flatter nostrils.That can cause heart problems; it can be harder to breathe. And so the doctor said, “Hey, y’know we’re doing this adjustment to these flat noses, so if you want we can do that while we’re getting him fixed.” So, they opened his nose a little bit.

They think that’s why he’s also taller than other Chins, ’cause he’s just — I don’t wanna say healthier, but… he got a nose job!

PL: Rafa is officially the only dog I’ve ever met with a nose job. This one sounds reasonable, though. So, does Rafa have any favorite non-pet foods that you just treat him to?

AG: Bacon. And peanut butter. The classic, right?

PL: Have you ever thought about putting bacon and peanut butter together?

AG: [gasps] No. That would be awesome! We’re gonna have to try that!

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