Friday afternoon, 175 St. Ronan St. was busier than usual — over a dozen dogs, all dressed up in colorful costumes, gathered at the parking lot in front of Yale’s Canine Cognition Center to attend the center’s annual Halloween celebration.
Founded in December 2013, the Canine Cognition Center at Yale, a research facility in the Psychology Department dedicated to the study of dogs’ minds, invited their past study participants — and their owners — to celebrate the festival for the second year in a row. Yale’s mascot Handsome Dan attended the event wearing a Halloween-themed necklace, and the popular Sasha Pup — a Samoyed belonging to Timothy Dwight residential fellows David and Lanch McCormick — joined the celebration as well, although Sasha did not come in costume. Staff at the Canine Cognition Center said the event was an opportunity to show appreciation to those who supported the center’s research study. Meanwhile, attendees praised the celebration for the chance to meet and greet other dogs and their owners.
“By hosting this event, we hope to promote and generate support for the center,” said Laurie Santos, psychology professor and the director of the Canine Cognition Center. “It is also a nice way to give back to our [research] participants.”
Center Manager Michael Bogese ’14 said the center designed the event for the dogs and their owners to meet other participants at the center. Usually the center only has one dog participating in a research study at a time, so the dogs hardly have a chance to meet one another, Bogese added.
At the celebration, each dog was treated to pumpkin-shaped dog snacks, photographed in a close-up shot and awarded a prize for its costume. Kate Linderman, resident of Oxford, Connecticut whose dog earned the “Cute Enough to Eat” award with its banana outfit, said she was excited to attend the event because it was a great chance to meet other participants and also because “dogs in costumes are just hilarious.”
Kimber Tanaka, resident of East Haven, also spoke highly of the event. Besides participating in the center’s research study, her dog Danver, dressed up as a pumpkin, is also a therapy dog at the Yale Law School. Tanaka said that she loved to be around dog owners and that the event was great to let Danver mingle with other dogs.
Yale Humanist Community Executive Director and Davenport Fellow Chris Stedman, whose dog Tuna wore a superhero robe, said he loved the event and the research studies conducted at the Canine Cognition Center. The research studies Tuna has participated in have helped Stedman learn how Tuna’s mind works. He added that the study environment was always comfortable for Tuna.
Other costumes featured at the celebration included football player, referee, Batman and witch