-- The University of Southern California in Los Angeles has hired a new, furry staff member: a 2-year-old goldendoodle named Professor Beauregard Tirebiter.
The goldendoodle is the first full-time university facility dog in the U.S. according to USC News, a university news site run by USC's communications team.
He resides on the second floor of the university's student health center, where he provides affection and comfort to stressed students as a wellness dog, USC News wrote.
He even has office hours, a uniform and business cards -- though he has "trouble handing out the latter," USC News added.
The hope is that Professor Tirebiter will help create a sense of community on campus, in addition to providing therapeutic companionship, said Paula Lee Swinford, director of the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion at USC.
"We wanted to do something that would change our culture," Swinford told USC News.
Research suggests that positive interactions with dogs can create a sense of calm and well-being, said Olga Solomon, an assistant professor at the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.
Petting a therapy dog can increase serotonin, beta-endorphin and oxytocin –- chemicals and hormones that make people happy –- and decrease cortisol, a stress hormone, Solomon told USC News.
For now, Professor Tirebiter is learning to get comfortable all over campus, in addition to some tricks, said Amanda Vanni, his handler who is also a health promotion specialist at USC's student health center.
"I’m teaching him how to do a 'Fight on' right now," she told USC News, referring to the school's official fight song.
"[W]e're working on a paw out in the air," she said.