Students forced to take dogs home on unsanctioned Bring Your Dog to School Day

Hallie Faust and Sophia Krugler

Seniors who dared to bring their dogs on Palo Alto High School’s campus Friday as part of the student-organized Bring Your Dog to School Day were likely to have been quickly told by campus administrators to take their pets back home.

The unofficial tradition has persisted despite a similar conclusion each year, according to Campus Supervisor Carl Hubenthal.

“It’s just something that the students really want to do, and we [campus administrators] end up having to kick the dogs off every year,” Hubenthal said. “I wish we didn’t do that, because I love dogs. But from a liability and insurance standpoint, it’s totally understandable.”

According to Hubenthal, interactions between dogs have ended badly in the past, which is one reason why pet dogs are not allowed on campus, in addition to student allergies.

“We don’t know how the dogs are going to interact with each other,” Hubenthal said. “In the past we’ve had incidents about dogs fighting.”

Senior Alexa Gwyn entered campus during lunch with her two dogs, Ziggy and Sheena, accompanied by a group of around 10 other seniors and their pets. The group barely reached the Quad before being dismissed by campus administrators. 

“During COVID, dogs haven’t really been able to make dog friends, and this is a really great opportunity for them to meet the owners and see the school their owners go to,” Gwyn said. “It [having to bring the dogs home] is just really sad. I wish this was an implemented thing so that they could prepare for it.”

Hubenthal suggested students bring their dogs to off-campus locations where the school would not be liable.

“Stanford has a voice command policy in that area [Stanford Grove], so you can actually have the dogs off-leash in that area,” Hubenthal said. “If you wanted to do that, that’s no longer school property so there’s nothing we can do about that.”