Sophomore political science major, Jessica Lewis, probably didn’t expect to win the hearts of thousands of people when she brought her dog to class.
It was a cloudy Thursday afternoon, and Lewis was headed to her last class of the day before driving home to Villa Rica, Georgia in order to avoid Hurricane Irma.
In an attempt to save travel time and beat the traffic on I-16, she emailed her professor on a whim and begged him to let her bring Luna, her 1-year-old rescue dog, to class.
Joshua Kennedy, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science and international studies, agreed.
Lewis said she didn’t expect to get a response from Kennedy, much less an email of approval.
Surprisingly, Kennedy responded to Lewis’s email less than a minute after she sent it and didn’t have a problem with Luna being in class at all.
Kennedy is a dog lover himself, a proud owner of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a pit bull mutt.
“I love dogs,” Kennedy said. “I’ve had dogs ever since I was a kid. I was happy to invite [Luna]. She came to class and was very active and engaged with all the students.”
To the hilarity of the students, whenever Kennedy would ask questions, Lewis said that Luna would whine and whimper as if she was giving him an answer.
Like Kennedy, Lewis’s classmates didn’t mind Luna’s active participation, either, and greatly enjoyed the canine’s company.
“She walked around and got pets from everybody,” Lewis said. “Everyone was cool with it.”
The media’s response
Lewis’s Facebook post about Luna’s classroom adventure has garnered more than 29,000 shares, 13,000 likes and almost 5,000 comments, achieving internet virality. The public’s reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
“WHAT A GOOD DOG; WHAT A GOOD PROFESSOR.”
“Wow I want to marry this professor and dog.”
“Crying a bit.”
“What an icon of a teacher.”
“SHE IS A GOOD GIRL!”
Lewis and Luna have become internationally known. People from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Canada, India, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Brazil, among others, have expressed their adoration for the pair on Facebook.
Lewis said more than 20 media outlets have contacted her since her post went viral. Indeed, outlets such as The Daily Dot, The Tab, The Dodo, Mashable and Southern Living have covered Lewis’s story.
The post was intended to be for family and friends, Lewis said, adding that she didn’t even realize she had made the post public on Facebook.
She was shocked to find that just a day later, thousands of people knew who she was and were head-over-heels in love with her dog, too.
“I woke up the next morning and the post had 5,000 shares, almost 30,000 now,” Lewis said. “I had no idea at all that it would blow up like this. I just took my dog to class and took some pictures and here we are. I’m glad that Luna could make so many people smile.”
When asked why she thinks her story got so much attention, Lewis said it’s probably because it’s uncommon for professors to respond so enthusiastically about one of their students bringing a dog to class.
Lewis said she now tells Luna all the time how famous she is. Luna loves all the attention she’s getting, she said, and she’s been acting “extra spoiled” lately.
“Me and my roommate joke about it in front of her, and all of a sudden she thinks she can just, like, get food off the counter,” Lewis said. “It’s like she’s reacting. She’s smart like that.”
Is there a YouTube channel in the works?
When asked if she plans on taking advantage of the publicity she’s received, by perhaps starting a YouTube channel or a blog about her adventures with Luna, Lewis said, “Maybe.”
“I was thinking we could make her homemade treats or take her on adventures to state parks and stuff,” Lewis said. “Just little dog things that she would like and that other dog lovers might enjoy.”
Nothing is set in stone, but Lewis said she’ll continue to consider the idea.
Until then, just like the rest of the students at Georgia Southern, Lewis will return to class this week after a long break due to Hurricane Irma.
Still, during her time off, Lewis undoubtedly garnered an international audience of dog lovers. When asked what she would say if she could only tell them one thing, Lewis gave a cheeky response.
“Just be a little risky,” she joked. “If you want to do something crazy like take your dog to class, just ask the question because the worst they can say is ‘no’, and then the next thing you know, you have almost 30,000 shares on Facebook.”