The university’s first dog

Just when the Truman State community had gotten used to the four person Paino family, it has grown to five. They recently adopted a puppy named Oscar. According to Paino, his daughters finally wore him down and he couldn’t say no to the cute, furry little friend. The Index asks him about the new addition to the family.

Grace Bueckendorf: Why did you choose the name Oscar?
Troy Paino: It actually does have significance. He was named after Oscar Robertson. Probably no students will have heard [of him]. He was a great basketball player from Indianapolis, Ind., and in many respects, he was the Jackie Robinson of high school basketball.  He led an all-black high school team to back-to-back state championships. I’ve always looked up to Oscar Robertson. He’s a role model, he’s one of the greatest NBA players of all time. A lot of people put him as one of the top five players ever to play the game. He’s a pretty phenomenal basketball player.

GB: What breed is Oscar?
TP: [He’s] a mutt. So, [he’s] got beagle in [him] and then I’m told [he] has mountain cur, but I have no idea what a mountain cur is.

GB: Does he have a little bit of bulldog, at least at heart?
TP: Exactly. [He] has bulldog at heart… We seriously considered getting a bulldog, but they’re just not active enough for us. And we had considered even naming [Oscar] “Bulldog” just so that people understood that really, at heart, he’s a bulldog.

GB: Why did you decide to end up getting a dog?
TP: My daughters, Sophia and Chloe, wore me down. They’ve wanted a dog for a long time and I kept saying that our lifestyle is too hectic and we can’t do it and that there’s no way we can manage this. Finally, over the winter, they beat me down and one of [Chloe’s] friend’s dogs had a litter, and they were going to send the dogs that they couldn’t give away to the Humane Society and so [the girls] went over and they looked at them and they fell in love. I knew there was no way I could say no, and so we got Oscar.

GB: Describe Oscar’s personality.
TP: Oscar’s great. He’s very social. If you see him on campus, say ‘hi’ to him. He loves people. Every time he passes a student on campus, he runs over. I hate to say this, but he likes young women. It is interesting to see how he reacts to the female students. He wants to get up and love on the female students and play with them, but male students, he sometimes barks at them. So it’s really interesting — he reacts very differently with different students. But he’s very social. Very playful. He does not bite, so you don’t have to be afraid of him. He’s a puppy, so he likes to have a lot of fun. But he likes girls.
GB: Why do you think that is?
TP: I don’t know. At home, I have two daughters, along with my wife. Maybe he’s just more accustomed to girls. I’ve found that he responds — like if someone says, “Oh, he’s cute,” he’s very friendly and goes to them. Girls are much more receptive to dogs. Girls, when they see a puppy, are like, “Awwwww!” and he loves that, whereas boys, when they pass, just kind of look at him [and give a head nod]. He’s not happy if you don’t give him a little love. He thinks he deserves the attention.

GB: Do you consider the dog yours or the University’s? In other words, is Oscar the “first dog”?
TP: I consider him the first dog. Even though he’s not a bulldog, I hope everyone — when they see Oscar on campus — they adopt him as their own, so they feel he’s as much a part of the campus scene as possible. I see him as very much a part of the Truman community. He’s our dog, obviously — I don’t expect the students to take care of him — but I would like the students to have fun with him.