What to say when your family asks, ‘How’s OU?’ at Thanksgiving

College Green on Aug. 18, 2016 (Photo by Patrick Connolly)

When your extended family gathers around the table on Thursday to eat food and chat, the inevitable, “How’s college?” question will arise. Here are some talking points about Ohio University to bring up at the dinner table.

1. This was Pumpkin’s month.

No, it’s not because it’s Thanksgiving and we’re about to eat pumpkin pie. It’s because Pumpkin the cat, everyone’s favorite part of walking past the Board of Elections window on Court Street, finally got the love and attention he deserved during election season. He was more than just a spectacle to be looked at through the BOE window: he was an active participant in the demo-cat-ic process.

2. We have the most romantic (and famous) professors around.

I’m sure we all recall the heartwarming story that captured national attention about our very own assistant professor Dan West. After a student in his Introduction to Human Communications class posted this tweet, his story went viral and he garnered attention from national media, including Buzzfeed.

Today somebody asked my professor how he knew he wanted to marry his wife & he said, “I took her to the grocery store to get ice cream & while she was picking out a flavor, I realized she was who I wanted to grocery shop w for the rest of my life..”😭

3. Athenians can now smoke weed without penalties (well, sort of). 

On Election Day, 2,000 Athenians cast a vote to penalize misdemeanor marijuana charges within city limits. The Athens Cannabis Ordinance voids fines for those misdemeanor charges to decrease the incentive for officers to enforce marijuana laws. But before your mom freaks out — the new ordinance doesn’t apply to citations on OU’s campus.

4. We take care of our Athens pets.

Black Sheep hosted “Tuck the squirrels of College Green in and read them bedtime stories” on Oct. 23. The Facebook event had more than 100 people interested in giving back to the squirrels who have “a hard life.”

5. Speaking of furry friends, Tumbles, the two-legged pup is now two years old.

Tumbles, the local two-legged dog that captured national attention a few years ago, just turned two in September. He no longer uses the 3-D printed wheels the OU Innovation Center printed for him; rather he opts to hop around on his stomach or walk on his hind legs.

6. The infamous “Cocaine Plane” pilot was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Remember when authorities discovered more than 300 pounds of cocaine on a plane that unexpectedly landed in Athens earlier this spring? The verdict’s out, and the Canadian man who landed the plane was sentenced to serve eight years in prison.

7. Quit it with the “OU is only a party school” thing already.

OU didn’t make the cut for the top 20 party schoolsfor the second year on the 2018 Princeton Review. Despite the number one rating in 2011 and third place ranking in 2012, we fell off the list completely in 2016, but we were listed in The Best 382 CollegesBest Midwestern and Green Colleges.

@AbbeyMarshall

am877915@ohio.edu 

Originally published for The Post on November 20, 2017.

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Where is Tumbles, the two-legged dog, now?

Tumbles playing outside near his dog wheelchair. Due to being born with just two legs, OU’s Innovation Center made a dog wheelchair for Tumbles nearly two years ago. (Photo by Abbey Marshall)

A local two-legged puppy tumbled his way into the hearts of millions two years ago after garnering international media attention. Nearly two years later, he no longer uses the wheels the Ohio University Innovation Center 3-D-printed for him.

Tumbles was born without his front legs. Because of his disability, he would get pushed out of the way by his brother and sister when he was trying to nurse, forcing his owner to give him up to a foster home.

Karen Pilcher, who was on the board of the Athens Friends of Shelter Dogs, has been by Tumbles’ side since he was four weeks old. She officially adopted him last December. He’ll be two years old soon.

Pilcher and some other members of the Athens Friends of Shelter Dogs created a Facebook page for Tumbles in November 2015, when he was six weeks old. An engineer saw the page and designed wheels to help Tumbles’ mobility. He brought his idea to the OU Innovation Center, who agreed to create the wheels using 3-D printing.

“OU was wonderful,” Pilcher said. “They only charged us for the materials for the wheels, not the labor. It only cost around $250, whereas other wheels are much more expensive.”

A video of Tumbles wheeling around began circulating the internet; before Pilcher knew it, she was the mother to a viral star.

“He was everywhere,” she said. “We got messages on Facebook and friends from all over the world. He was in the papers in England, Brazil, Germany, Ireland.”

Even though the wheels are adjustable and will last his lifetime, Pilcher said Tumbles doesn’t like to use them very much anymore. They inhibit his mobility, she said, and he much prefers hopping and pushing himself on his stomach. In the past few months, he also began walking on his back paws.

“He doesn’t know any different,” she said. “The thing that makes him great is his personality. There’s a lot of two legged dogs, and they all have great personality. They’re fighters.”

Tumbles now lives with three other dogs and 19 cats.

“They all get along great,” Pilcher said. “He’s just so happy about everything.”

@AbbeyMarshall

am877915@ohio.edu 

Originally published for The Post on Sept. 24, 2017.