Villanova’s Department of Public Safety Welcomes University’s First Community Canine

Taffy pictured with Deputy Chief Police Debra Patch (L) and Officer Amy Lenahan (R).
Taffy pictured with Deputy Chief Police Debra Patch (L) and Officer Amy Lenahan (R).

Villanova, Pa. (April 13, 2023) — Villanova’s newest wildcat is a dog! Meet Taffy, a two-year-old female Labrador/Golden Retriever who joined Public Safety in March as the latest member of the force. A highly trained full-time community canine and therapy dog, Taffy can be found on campus working closely with her handler and caretaker, Officer Amy Lenahan.

“We are thrilled to welcome Taffy to our campus community,” said David Tedjeske, director of Public Safety and chief of police. “Our department is committed to being community caretakers, and Taffy helps us promote and support our mission. She allows us to better connect with students and her presence increases the overall well-being and social-emotional growth of students, faculty and staff.”

Taffy comes to Villanova from Paws with a Cause in Michigan, a professional dog training organization that custom-trains service dogs to work with both individuals and within large organizations. Taffy was selected by the organization because of her temperament and love of working with people. During the program, Taffy was trained to become a therapy dog. She now specializes in social interaction, recovery motivation, comfort and providing a feeling of safety.

On any given day, Taffy can be found engaging with the community at events and patrolling campus with Officer Lenahan and other trained police officers, including Deputy Chief Police Debra Patch who was instrumental in creating the Community Canine program and bringing Taffy to Villanova.

Taffy will also be available for students, faculty and staff members who may find comfort in interacting with her during a difficult time. She is not a trained detection or K-9 police dog and will not be performing law enforcement tasks.

“Sometimes being a college student can be tough,” said Officer Lenahan. “Taffy is an approachable and lovable dog who brings joy with her wherever she goes. In the short time she’s been on campus, she has already made an impact. Students love seeing her and her calming presence immediately boosts spirits.”

When not on duty, Taffy lives off campus with Officer Lenahan, who has been a police officer with the Department of Public Safety since 2018. Officer Lenahan and Taffy have been working with a Paws with a Cause trainer over the last three months to acclimate Taffy to her primary residence, as well to her new home at Villanova.

Taffy is approved to go inside University buildings and she will attend student, faculty and staff events on campus. For updates on Taffy, please follow Villanova Public Safety on Instagram at @vu_publicsafety.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit




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