Meet the #DogsOfNDFBBy Joanne Norell
The members of the Notre Dame football team often fill several roles — athletes, students, mentors, campus and athletic leaders, friends and sons. Interestingly, a handful of Irish playmakers also take on another kind of responsibility: dog owner. In fact, seven members of the Irish roster go home to their own furry friends each night, two even splitting custody of a friendly Rottweiler. Fans who have attended a game at Notre Dame Stadium in 2018 might even recognize a certain clear-bag-sized Yorkshire terrier who’s come to see her owner lead the Irish in tackles this season.
Meet the dogs of Notre Dame football.
Lola, Yorkshire Terrier (11 mo.)
Te’von Coney, Linebacker (6-1, 240)
What made you want a dog?
“It’s funny. Before 2018, I hated dogs. I never wanted to be around dogs. Then when I decided to come back to school, I wanted to spend more time around my apartment instead of going out, so I thought if I got a little puppy I could be at home more and have somebody with me. So I ended up getting Lola.”
What is her personality like?
“She’s very nice when she wants to be. … Some days she’ll be all over me and the next day she wants her own space and to be in her own bed and play with her toys. She never likes to be home alone, so any time I leave, she runs out the door behind me and waits for me to pick her up to go with me.”
What’s it like to have her to come home to?
“I’m always in a good mood, always thinking about her when I’m not with her. I just can’t wait to see her, so knowing she’s home, I can’t wait to get back there to be with her.”
Apollo, Rottweiler (7 mo.)
Daelin Hayes, Defensive Line (6-4, 265) & Khalid Kareem, Defensive Line (6-4, 265)
Which of you picked him out?
Kareem: “Daelin picked him out. It was kind of spur of the moment. I was studying when he called me and said, ‘Bro, let’s get a dog.’ Then that Friday he went and got him.”
Who picked his name?
Kareem: “It was a vote in class. I wanted ‘Ace,’ but Daelin wanted ‘Apollo.’ So we went to class one day and put it to a vote and the class voted for Apollo, so that’s his name.”
Describe Apollo’s personality.
Kareem: “Dude’s got a lot of energy, but once he runs around a little bit, he’s chill. His spot is right by the door, so he just lays down on the hardwood and can lay there for hours on end.”
“He’s a big dog, so you’d think he could be kind of aggressive, but there was one time we went to a dog park and there was this small little dog there and he just folded. I was disappointed, like here’s this big dog and you’re backing down, but he’s really sweet and gentle and I can appreciate that.”
Potter, Cockapoo (11 months)
Julian Okwara, Defensive Line (6-5, 241)
What made you decide to get a dog?
“To be honest, our house was way too quiet. It brought some energy and some fun and some other responsibilities into the house.”
Describe Potter’s personality.
“He’s super obsessed with fetch. He doesn’t stop playing fetch. You can be chilling and throw the ball once and he’ll bring it back to you nonstop. He’s always energetic and trying to play. He’s a crazy guy.”
What does having a dog mean for your daily life?
“It’s nice. I have someone who watches him when we’re at games, so when we come home the house is pretty empty. She’ll bring him back over and it’s honestly chaotic because he’ll just want to play with you. It feels like he hasn’t seen you in forever and just wants hug on you, jump on you and play with you. It’s nice; it’s like having a little kid — obviously not that crazy, but he brings joy into the house.”
Chance, Boston Terrier (6 mo.)
Tony Jones Jr., Running Back (5-11, 220)
How would you describe Chance’s personality?
“He’s got a nice little mean mug, but he’s soft. He’ll bark at the door and then run away. When people are knocking he’ll run at it, but as soon as you open it he’ll run away.”
What’s your favorite Chance story?
“It’s not a good story, but I came home from workouts once and he had poop on his head. I don’t know how it got there.”
Where did the name Chance come from?
“I was going through the alphabet and ‘A’ wasn’t working. With ‘B’ he could be ‘Bane’ or ‘Bo,’ but I wasn’t feeling that, so I went with the ‘C.’ … I thought of ‘Chance,’ and then I looked at him and it just fit. Plus, Chance the Rapper is a good rapper, so he’s Chance the Terrier.”
Mowgli, Red Labrador (1 y/o) & Buzz, Yellow Labrador (9 y/o)
Logan Plantz, Offensive Line (6-2, 284)
Tell us about your dogs.
“They’re nothing but trouble. They might look cute, but I come home to half-eaten shoes every other day. They’re definitely brothers and like to play way too aggressively, so they might take after me some. But they’re good dogs and overly friendly.
“Buzz is the laid-back one and Mowgli is still a little puppy where he needs the attention. … It’s a big brother-little brother personality duo.”
How do you balance taking care of two dogs?
“I think it’s just like taking care of one, but there’s the extra headache because I don’t know who to blame when the garbage is torn up or they pull the pillows off the bed. They fight for attention, for space on the bed, and they definitely fight for leftover scraps. You have to evenly distribute the leftover food, steak bones and things like that.”
Nash, Goldendoodle (10 mo.)
Alex Bars, Offensive Line (6-6, 315)
How does owning and caring for your dog affect your daily life?
“It’s awesome coming home after a long day of school, workouts and practice and being greeted by someone so excited to see you. I make sure to get him lots of toys and spend time with him whenever I can. (I like) taking him on campus to chase squirrels and geese near the Grotto and lakes.”
When did you get your dog?
“I’ve had Nash for 7.5 months. Funny story: Quenton (Nelson), Sam (Bush) and Nic (Weishar) accompanied me to go pick him up from Amish country in Shipshewana, Indiana, and the woman greeting us was very noticeably shocked and scared when all four of us big people pulled up together.”