Dogs of Wilkes: Meet Obedience Pups Zoki and Zava

by Web Services

Professor of biology William Terzaghi and wife Vivien enjoy bringing their certified therapy Samoyeds Zoki and Zava to visit students in Terzaghi’s labs as well as to the Women Empowered by Science program. Though very smart, Terzaghi explains that these two pups have a knack of being naughty from time to time.

Name, age and breed of dog:

Zoki and Zava are Samoyeds and Kuri (not pictured) is a Border Collie.

Zoki is 9 years old, Zava is 7 years old and Kuri is 16 months old.

Kuri is still learning the ways of obedience training and has not ventured to campus yet.

How did you find your dogs?

We arranged to buy Zoki from a breeder. My wife has been active in competitive dog obedience for many years and she’s one of the few people crazy enough to compete with Samoyeds, so we got Zava when her breeder called my wife to say that she had a puppy who would be a great obedience dog and did my wife know anybody who might want to train her for obedience. We got Kuri much the same way, except that Kuri’s breeder called a friend of my wife to say that she had a puppy who would be a great obedience dog and did she know anybody who might want to train him for obedience? In both cases the “train for obedience” was key. The breeders knew that these puppies were so smart and energetic that they needed to go to a home where they would be trained by someone who knew what they were doing.  And yes, both Zava and Kuri are very smart and very good at figuring out ways to be naughty)

Do your dogs have any special certifications or trainings?

Zoki and Zava are both certified therapy dogs.  Zoki has a Companion Dog obedience title from the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Zava has an AKC Companion Dog Excellent obedience title (which is quite a bit harder to get). Kuri is getting trained and we hope to soon have him certified as a canine good companion, which is the first step towards getting certified as a therapy dog. He will start keeping in obedience this summer.

What are your dogs’ favorite spots on campus?

Any place where there are a lot of students.

What are your dog’s favorite things to do on campus?

Meet and greet students and anyone else they encounter. 

Have you ever brought Zoki and Zava to class with you or to other campus events?

They come to visit my lab classes at least once a semester, where the students love to pet and hug them. Every summer my wife brings them to the Women Empowered by Science summer camp where she gives a 30 minute talk about dog safety and about training dogs, and the dogs show off some of their tricks and the girls get to meet them. Again, the girls are very enthusiastic about petting them and giving them hugs. Occasionally RAs will arrange for them to visit dorms, especially around finals, where they are always very popular with the students.

What is their favorite treat? 

Salmon. We have fish at least once a week, and my wife feeds them the skin (after cooking it) and usually some chunks of meat as well.

What is your dog’s favorite pastime?

They all like going for long walks best, although they also are all fond of obedience training and Kuri loves fetching tennis balls.

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