Meet the Marianist Dogs

Eli, Owen, and Buster (left to right) are frequent visitors in the Chaminade classrooms and hallways.

Matthew Braccia ’26

Chaminade High School serves as a home not only for the students who walk the halls, but also for the Marianist brothers’ pet dogs—three of them, to be exact. The three beloved dogs of Chaminade are Buster, a 12-year-old puggle (half pug and half beagle); Owen, a 1-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi; and Eli, a 12-year-old golden retriever. 

Chaminade’s history with dogs extends back to the 1970s, and they have been roaming the halls ever since. The school has had all sorts of dogs throughout the years, including St. Bernards, Bernese mountain dogs, Australian shepards, English sheep dogs, Lhasa Apsos, golden retrievers, golden labradors, and corgis.

According to the Marianist brothers, these dogs help set a tone for the school and help Chaminade feel more like a family. The current three dogs live on campus full-time and are taken care of by three of the Marianist brothers: Buster is always by the side of Bro. Thomas Cleary, S.M. ’81, Owen is taken care of by Bro. Patrick Sarsfield, S.M. ’86, and Eli is under the guardianship of Fr. Peter Heiskell, S.M. ’86.

Bro. Tom affirmed that “Taking care of Buster has been a blessing. Getting Buster, Eli, and Owen were some of the best decisions we have made in my time as a brother.”

The love for Chaminade’s canine friends is not limited to their owners, however. Students appreciate the presence of the brothers’ dogs on school grounds, especially when one makes their way into the classroom.

Casper Cwar ’23 voiced his amusement at Buster, stating, “It’s really fun to see Bro. Rysz walking Buster on the fields.” (Bro. Ryszard Decowski, S.M. ’77 and Buster often enjoy each other’s company when Bro. Tom is busy.)

Pat Conway ’23 his another student who shares an appreciation for Chaminade’s dogs, jokingly claiming that “our animals are much better than Kellenberg’s animals.”

The dogs all have their favorite places on campus. For Owen and Eli, it is Ott Field, where Owen likes to play catch and where Eli likes to go for walks.

Bro. Pat affectionally describes Owen as a “goofy little dog who likes everyone,” while Fr. Peter describes his buddy as a “very gentle and happy dog.” 

Buster’s favorite spot, meanwhile, is the Meribah retreat house.

Buster, who just celebrated his own birthday on November 13th, is also the face of the birthday cards that Bro. Tom distributes to faculty members every year.

“The dogs represent so much more than just pets,” Bro. Tom concluded. “All three of the Marianist dogs are constantly seen around campus, and they are integral parts to our Chaminade community.”

The presence of these dogs are just one thing of many that make Chaminade a unique and welcoming learning environment.