Laura O’Hara, an associate professor of communication studies, and her husband Michael O’Hara, associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts, own a coon dog named Coco. The O’Haras have owned four dogs together, and they came into connection with Coco at Muncie’s ARF. Laura O’Hara // Photo Provided
Teacher's Pet: Coco, the coonhound, found home with pair of Ball State professors
Editor's note: Teacher's Pet is a Ball State Daily News series featuring university faculty/staff and their pets. If you have any suggestions as to who we should feature next, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coco is used to her routine. She loves her walks, her bed and her house. But most of all, she loves her humans.
“I don’t make her do anything,” communication professor Laura O’Hara said. “I just make her happy.”
Laura and her husband, Michael, both work at Ball State and love their crazy coon dog.
Laura has been surrounded by dogs for her whole life, and she loves the furry pets in all shapes and sizes.
“In my early adult life, I had a beautiful golden retriever,” she said. “I always felt guilty. I was a decorator at that time and I was gone a lot so she was well cared for, but she was lonely.”
When the O’Haras started getting dogs together, they made sure that they were never lonesome.
Coco, their fourth dog together, found her forever home with the O’Haras after making a connection with Laura at ARF.
“My niece was with us at the time and she said, ‘Come over here and look at this! I think it’s a beagle.’ I had never been nuts about beagles, but the look she was giving me was just the sweetest look ever,” Laura said. “I just started crying and then Michael told the lady to go ahead and fill out the paperwork because we were taking her home.”
Coco, who the O’Haras have now discovered is a treeing walker coonhound, goes on at least a two hour-long walks every day and would be perfectly happy with even more walking.
“I was not equipped for this dog,” she said. “Once we figured out how to walk her and that she needed two hours a day, things got real good real fast. If she doesn’t get her walk she is not a happy girl.”
After her walks, Coco likes to nestle down in her bed. If ignored, she claws at the carpet and whines so that she can snuggle in her bed.
“She’s covered up at all times. She loves her covers,” she said. “[Being in bed] is totally her favorite time. She comes in and gets in bed with us, under the covers, way down at the bottom of the bed.”
Once she’s up, Coco looks forward to her walk. It can’t be the same route, though. She’s very particular.
“We’re very lucky because we’re very close to the bike trail and the White River,” she said. “We probably have about 60 different walks to take. She loves to use her nose. She was bred to be a hunting dog.”
The O’Haras might not have been prepared for a coon dog with a very particular coon dog smell, but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“A lot of high-energy dogs like [Coco] get left at places like ARF,” Laura said. “They’re always happy when they adopt an animal like that into a good home.”