Community comfort dog, Archie, poses with students.
As Bryant's community comfort dog, Archie’s role is to put people at ease and make them feel better. Archie's handler, Sarah Sirois, says he provides an emotional security blanket for students as they transition to college.
Reporting for duty: Meet Archie, Bryant’s community comfort dog
Aug 22, 2023, by Emma Bartlett

With his chocolate-colored eyes, soft fur, and contagious smile, Archie has spent the last year becoming a campus icon. The two-year-old yellow Labrador retriever and community comfort dog is frequently stopped in the hallways by his human friends who greet him with back rubs and ear scratches as they head to their next class. With his handler, Public Safety Officer Sarah Sirois, at his side, Archie’s role is to put people at ease and make them feel better.

“A lot of students who come to college are freshly 18 and have never left home. The transition can be scary and sad at points because they miss their family and have all these emotions running through their heads. Archie really provides an emotional security blanket for students,” says Sirois, a Psychology major and member of Bryant’s Department of Public Safety. 

Named in reference to the archway located in the heart of campus, Archie came to the university community in August of 2022. A year prior, DPS Executive Director Stephen Bannon had asked his staff their thoughts on adding a comfort dog to the DPS team; the university already had two therapy dogs working in Counseling Services and a bulldog mascot, Tupper II. Sirois thought the DPS addition was a brilliant idea. 

Archie at university event for senior class.
Archie came to the university community in August of 2022 after receiving training from K9 Instincts where he was taught obedience, discipline, and commands. 

“During the school year, we have calls for lockouts and mental health,” Sirois says. “Public safety officers can be a little scary to people, but showing up with Archie breaks that barrier.” 

Archie received his training from K9 Instincts where he was taught obedience, discipline, and commands before working with trainers to learn Bryant’s campus. Sirois, who went through an interview process to become Archie’s handler, says during the campus training sessions kids would see Archie from their dorm rooms and yell out the windows to say hi to him — a foreshadowing to the fame he would soon accumulate. 

Just like students’ schedules, Archie has a packed list of tasks and activities. Together 24/7, Sirois and Archie wake up and head to campus where they spend the day rotating between the university’s entry station, dispatch area in the Unistructure, and mobile patrol where they walk the campus. The two will also respond to dormitory lockouts and mental health-related situations. Slipping in several naps when he’s not on call, Archie’s favorite campus location is the entry station, where students stop in and say hi to him.  

Archie sleeping.
When he's not on call, Archie enjoys a quick
nap during his workday.

“A lot of times we get, ‘Oh my god I miss my dog back home.’ Well, now you have Archie to love while you’re here,” Sirois says, adding that Bryant community members can fill out an Archie request form to have him attend campus events. 

These days Sirois can’t go anywhere without Archie or she gets questioned, she admits, laughing.

“Even if I’m in Salmanson trying to get dinner without him because he’s crazy with food, I always get, ‘Where’s Archie?’” Sirois says. 

When he’s not on duty, goofy is a consistent word Sirois uses to describe her furry companion. Just like other dogs, he gets the zoomies, dresses up for Halloween, and has his favorite toys — like his Webkinz beagle and stuffed carrot toy that he lightly crunches on because he enjoys the sound. He loves rolling in the grass on his back, which Sirois says makes him look like a T-rex, and he’ll gladly play fetch or go for a walk.

But, as much as he enjoys his free time at home with Sirois, he’s always eager to return to campus to help students and see his friends. 

“He gets such a great response from the community,” Sirois says, smiling. “I love how much the students love Archie.”

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