Scruff serves campus as therapy dog alongside former OSU First Cowgirl Ann Hargis
(NORMAN, Oklahoma, Jan. 31, 2022) — Pete’s Pet Posse ambassador Scruff was named to the Oklahoma Animal Hall of Fame Friday at the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Associations (OVMA) annual conference in Norman.
Scruff is a certified therapy dog and beloved pet of former OSU First Lady Ann Hargis and former OSU President Burns Hargis. Scruff and Ann were among the inaugural eight teams that launched Pete’s Pet Posse in 2013.
“Scruff was selected as an emblematic representative of Pete’s Pet Posse to recognize the outstanding work these teams have performed over nearly a decade to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of the OSU campuses during the typical stress of college life and in times of crisis,” said OVMA President Lee Denney, DVM. “Honoring Scruff also honors Ann Hargis whose visionary dream of a pet therapy program grew to become the largest and most comprehensive university-based pet therapy program in the nation.”
The Animal Hall of Fame celebrates the link between animals and people and recognizes domestic animals who exemplify the strength and value of the human-animal bond.
In 2013, Scruff, a terrier mix, was rescued by OSU students after being found — injured, shot and abused — in a Stillwater neighborhood. Specialists at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine repaired Scruff’s injuries and recognized the young dog's potential as a therapy dog. Ann and Burns Hargis met Scruff and fell in love. Scruff quickly moved into the president’s house and implemented a new squirrel management program. At the same time, Pete’s Pet Posse was in the early stages of development, and Scruff and Ann began training with the first class.
Since that time, over 100 teams have been trained as part of Pete’s Pet Posse. The self-funded program began on the OSU Stillwater campus and now has expanded to the OSU Tulsa campus, OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa and the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah. Pet therapy teams are beginning visits at the OSU-OKC campus as well.
In 2021, Pete’s Pet Posse was officially moved into the newly created OSU Center for Pet Therapy in Stillwater, which administers all the campus programs in addition to the Pete’s Pet Posse Advisory Board, Campus Expansion, the research committee, and the student auxiliary called Ruff Riders. Since its inception, Pete’s Pet Posse has touched over 300,000 lives.