Friday, January 21, 2011


(Uli with Intermediate Honors students at Temple)

Nicole Larocco, Pennsylvania SPCA Director of Animal Training and Behavior, and Uli, her companion animal, visited class today in Anderson Hall. Nicole talked about the Pennsylvania SPCA and volunteer opportunities. Uli divided her time between lounging at the front of the class and wandering the aisles, looking for food and affection.


  1. I personally really enjoyed Nicole and Uli's visit. I learned a lot that I didn't know about animal rescue in Philadelphia. The information about horses and pot-bellied pigs and chickens in the city especially surprised me. I also didn't realize there was a 40% euthanasia rate. I'm also really glad she talked about pits bulls because I have to admit I really did think that they had lockjaw as a biological function, which now makes no sense scientifically when I think about it. And Uli, of course, was adorable.

  2. Having Uli and Nicole come to visit us was a very enjoyable educational experience. First I must say that I rarely get to see, let alone interact with, dogs with I'm at school, and as a true "dog person" it gets rather depressing, so it was wonderful to meet Uli. I didn't know about the 40% euthanasia rate, and after hearing that, I decided to spread the awareness of this problem to as many people as possible (starting by asking my parents to please foster this summer!) I'm really excited for this course and I can't wait to go to the SPCA and work with other animals like Uli.

  3. Nicole and Uli's visit was a great way to see what the class is going to be about and to learn why its important that we're taking it. Nicole had a lot of information about the need for animal welfare efforts in the city and emphasized how important the work of volunteers is for the SPCA.

    Uli was adorable and well trained and it was great to have her in class because it was a reminder of how many wonderful animals are out there and in need of rescue.

  4. Nicole and Uli's visit was a great way to start the semester. It served as a little reminder that this will be unlike a lot of courses I have taken. Uli is a cute dog and she brought a lot of excitement into the classroom. Nicole's presentation on the SPCA told me a lot of new information about the SPCA. Some of the stories, for example a horse in someone's living room, are entertaining. But Nicole was very honest about the serious information too; statistics about euthanasia. Also, she was able to help me be more open about pitbulls by explaining their history and the truth about their aggressive nature. The SPCA will be a great place to volunteer, and a great overall learning experience.

  5. Not only was Nicole and Uli's visit an endearing ice breaker, but it was also extremely appropriate, and not to mention- exciting! I think that as each student got to see and pet Uli, we were all inspired to get started with our hands-on SPCA volunteer work as soon as possible. Nicole and Uli were such a cute couple and the fostering and adoption stories shared by Nicole, Professor Featherston, and fellow peers over the past two classes were enough to melt my heart. I can barely wait until I adopt my own plethora of new pals. As someone in the class mentioned, I never thought I would be able to foster pets because I would get too attached, but hearing the tales others who had felt similarly, prior to their experiences, I think I may find fostering very rewarding as well! Regardless, I look forward to learn more about the history of the SPCA, current animal welfare and rights legislature, and of course getting hands on experience with cats, dogs, and other critters!

  6. So if we say, “My companion animal ate my homework,” will it actually count in this class? All joking aside, Nichole and Uli’s visit was, as everyone else has already stated, a great way to kick-off the semester with a bang. (Or is it a bark?) Hearing about shelter animals is far different from interacting with a former shelter resident who was lucky enough to get a second chance. The interactive nature of Nichole and Uli’s visit helped to highlight the intensity of the human-animal connection (I have never seen a class smile as much as when Uli started picking-up trash), as well as emphasize the fact that the animals in shelters all have the potential to make wonderful pets.

    Speaking with Nichole was a great experience. She was clearly knowledgeable and completely prepared to answer any and all of our questions with expertise, honesty, and humor. That’s a great mixture, and it really gave me confidence in the PSPCA. Hearing both her personal stories and those of my classmates was far more engaging than simply reading statistics about the plight of animals in our city.

    I’ve always believed that animals can be an intrinsic part of the learning process. When someone asked me if having a dog in class was distracting, I replied, “Not at all.” Uli was part of the discussion, and added to it rather than taking attention away from the human speaker. Even though the idea of a dog in a college course may seem completely contrary to the higher education model, it felt completely natural to me. Obviously, we should institute “bring a friend to class” day!

  7. I also really enjoyed Nicole and Uli's presentation. It was a great way to start of the semester; Uli was very entertaining and Nicole's presentation was very informational. I learned a great deal about the PSPCA, and now I am even more excited to begin volunteering. I found the information Nicole shared with us about pitbulls to be the most interesting part of the presentation. Before she spoke to us about the breed, I believed many of the myths that are held about this type of dog. When she told us what pitbulls were originally bred for I felt like I gained a better understanding of why they have such an aggressive nature. I also did not know that pitbulls are known to be animal aggressive, but not necessarily aggressive towards humans. This fact makes me feel more comfortable being around or working with pitbulls.
    I also did not know that the euthanasia rate was so high at about 40% for animals placed in the SPCA. This fact makes me lean toward rescuing or adopting a dog versus buying a puppy from a breeder. I also found it interesting that so many purebred animals are taken to the SPCA, as I falsely believed that the SPCA had very few purebred animals. This I feel is an important piece of information because many people want to own a specific purebred breed versus a mixed breed. If this fact was more widespread perhaps more people would begin to adopt animals from the SPCA.
    Nicole and Uli's presentation really helped to encourage me to become more involved in animal welfare/ rescue. Again, it was a great way to start off the course!

  8. I really enjoyed our time with Nicole and Uli. I already knew somewhat about the Pennsylvania SPCA, but the information she provided in regards to Pit Bull myths really helped me out. As I have said in class, I am fostering a Pit Bull and have received little support because of preconceived notions people have about Pit Bulls. The facts about Pit Bulls made me feel as though I now have a foundation for my argument against those who believe these breed specific myths. I also enjoyed spending time with Uli. She is a super sweet dog and I think it would be great if we could have four legged guests more often! I thought the visit was a great way to kick start our course, and I am really looking forward to this semester!

  9. Nicole and Uli were terrific guests in the classroom. Nicole delivered a relaxed but informative presentation that made me excited to volunteer. I learned about how the PSPCA operates and the extensive services they provide in Philadelphia. I never would have guessed that issues like horses in dining rooms even existed before Nicole addressed them. I left feeling entertained and informed. Having Uli there made the class fun and memorable and gave me something to tell my friends about.

  10. The class we had on Friday where Nicole and Uli came in was probably the best class I've had in my college career. Like someone said earlier, contrary to what one might think, having a dog in class enhanced the presentation rather than distracting from it. Uli stood as an example of how wonderful a shelter pet can be. As students who are advocating for the adoption of shelter animals, I think it was really important for us to see first hand how successful it can be, especially because there are so many negative responses and attitudes to shelter pets.

  11. I found Nicole's presentation extremely enlightening about the many different aspects of the SPCA. I especially found the information about how some people are keeping horses and pigs in their houses very shocking! I found it sad but unsurprising that the majority of dogs in the SPCA are pit bulls, and it gave me a renewed passion to go out and speak on behalf of perfectly adoptable dogs! Having Uli in the classroom was an absolute joy. She was so well trained it was absolutely incredible. I feel if more people could meet wonderful dogs like her, maybe they'd have a different view on adopting versus paying money to buy a dog.

  12. I really enjoyed Nicole and Uli's visit on Friday. First of all, getting to hang out with Uli for an hour was great. I love dogs and she was adorable. Though I might have been a bit distracted by her cuteness at times, I really wasn't as distracted as I thought I'd be. I thought Nicole gave a great presentation on the PSPCA. I was interested the entire time and felt really encouraged and excited to volunteer. I also appreciated the amusing anecdotes about the more exotic pets, and was highly entertained to hear about the "urban cowboys". I think it was a great way to not only start off but motivate and inspire the class for this upcoming semester.

  13. I thought that Nicole’s presentation was a fantastic way to kick-off our course and introduce us to the PSPCA. The information she provided on pit bulls caused me to reevaluate my perception of them. I bought into the stereotype that pit bulls were aggressive towards humans based on news stories and accounts from friends. But after learning that pit bulls have been bred to be friendly towards humans, I realized that my views were unfairly prejudiced. Also, at the PSPCA Volunteer Orientation last weekend I met a pit bull and saw firsthand how friendly they can be, which also helped dispel my misconceptions.

    Also, I was astonished that the PSPCA takes in 40,000 animals every year! This is an amazing number to me and hit home the importance of volunteers to their organization. Taking care of so many animals must take huge amount of time and energy. Knowing this makes feel that my volunteer work will make a difference. I already think the volunteer “work” won’t feel like a requirement I need to fulfill, but something I look forward to instead.

  14. Hey everyone,

    Uli and I had a fabulous time with you last week! And she was so tired from all of the schmoozing that she did with class! It was also great to see several of you at our orientations for new volunteers on Sunday and Tuesday! I look forward to working with you, and if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact me at nlarocco@pspca.org!

    Wags & Woofs,

    Nicole & Uli!


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