Perkins Call Canine Center
The Perkins Call Canine Center is named in honor of visionary ANZ founder and retired Carroll professor Anne Perkins, PhD, and alumna Whitney Call ‘08, and her family, whose gift of $1,250,000 for construction and a canine center director transformed the dream of a home for the anthrozoology program into a reality. Other lead donors to this project include: the Mary Alice Fortin Foundation, thanks in large part to the advocacy of former Carroll trustee Dr. Tim Dernbach ’68; the E. Phil Maronick Estate; former Carroll trustee Margaret Perryman ’69; and a generous anonymous donor. ANZ alumna Meg Gochnauer Lehmann ‘08 and her family provided support that has been integral to the success of the anthrozoology program overall.
“Carroll College is incredibly grateful to the generous donors that have made this Canine Center a reality. Our anthrozoology program, which was the first undergraduate degree program in the country, draws students from across the U.S. and internationally,” said Carroll College President John Cech. “Providing a state-of-the-art facility for our students and faculty will only enhance the unique learning and training that is the hallmark of this nationally distinctive program. We are especially grateful to Whitney Call and her family, who has personally recognized the transformative experience provided through the study of anthrozoology at Carroll.”
“Being involved in the anthrozoology program at Carroll College had a tremendous impact on my life,” said Whitney Call. “Gaining a deeper understanding into the interactions between humans and animals, and the ways in which we can partner with animals to have mutually beneficial relationships, helped me to determine a career path and changed my life in a positive way. The experiences I had in the program helped me grow not only from an academic standpoint, but were also fun and fulfilling. I hope that many more students can benefit from the program in coming years.”
The Center, which was completed in time for the Fall 2020 semester, includes a 2,600 sq. ft. canine training room with beautiful views toward downtown Helena and the surrounding mountains, a 30-seat classroom, ANZ faculty offices, research rooms, a veterinary treatment room, wash rooms, and both indoor and outdoor kennels.
Anthrozoology, the interdisciplinary study of human-animal interaction, is the fastest-growing program at Carroll College and one of the only undergraduate degree programs of its kind in the U.S. The program began as minor in 2006 and a major was added in 2011. By 2015, almost 100 students had declared a major in anthrozoology. Today, forty-six of the 300+ students in the 2019/2020 first-year class are majoring in anthrozoology. If this trajectory continues, over 10% of Carroll’s student body will be majoring in anthrozoology by 2022.
Anthrozoology students at Carroll College are a uniquely impressive group. Several current ANZ students are preparing for careers as psychologists or counselors, and a number of program alumni are now PhD candidates in these fields. Many current ANZ students plan to train service dogs for autistic children or veterans with PTSD, or scent detection dogs for mitigation of the scourge of smuggled elephant ivory, illegal drugs, and other substances. Several alumni are already doing these things, across the globe. One alumna trains animals for movies and television.
Aspiring veterinarians will be interested to know that 100% of ANZ students who have applied to veterinary school have been accepted. In comparison, the average acceptance rate to veterinary school is 12.5% nationally. Current ANZ chair and veterinarian Dr. Marie Suthers is the driving force behind the success of these future veterinarians.
Retired ANZ chair Dr. Anne Perkins says, “I am very proud and honored that the Perkins Call Canine Center will soon be in operation. Students from around the world will come to Carroll College to follow their passion, to study and learn all they can about dogs. This facility represents a formal recognition by the academy that our canine partners are worthy of a deeper understanding of their needs, their behavior, and best practices for training. There are so many diverse ways that dogs support and enrich human lives. And we humans are obligated to fully understand our canine partners so that we can provide the best support for them. I am incredibly grateful to the many people who contributed to my vision and believed in this cause. What a capstone this is to my career at Carroll College!”
In his encyclical letter “Laudato Si’,” Pope Francis writes, “Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another” (42). Carroll College is honored by the large number of applicants this fall—some of whom are Catholic, many of whom are not—who expressed interest in a degree in anthrozoology in preparation for careers helping all “living creatures.”
The college hopes that members of the Helena community, including potential future Carroll College students, will attend the groundbreaking ceremony to learn more about the anthrozoology program and the new Perkins Call Canine Center.
More information about Carroll College’s anthrozoology program.