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BUPD’s new member might be its most popular: Meet Bean

Rhett the Terrier has some competition for Boston University’s favorite furry friend. This month, the BU Police Department adopted a wellness dog named Bean, who has paw-sitively captured students’ attention.

Bean is a three-month-old golden retriever from Golden Opportunities for Independence, a nonprofit organization in Walpole, Massachusetts which raises and trains puppies to be future service dogs.

Boston University Police department’s new wellness dog, Bean, with handler Geovanni Chevere. HOLLY GUSTAVSEN/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

As a wellness dog, Bean’s main responsibility is to comfort the student body, BU Chief of Police Robert Lowe said.

“Nationally, we’re seeing a trend of police departments reaching out to bring in any resources that they can to help them connect with communities,” Lowe said. “This is kind of just a part of that work that’s being done.”

Kelly Nee, the university’s chief safety, security and preparedness officer, took steps to begin the initiative while she was BU chief of police. Nee, the first female police chief at BU, said Northeastern University’s police department inspired her to consider adopting a wellness dog for BU a few years ago, but COVID halted the initiative.

“People might be intimidated to go up to a person standing there in uniform that might be armed,” Nee said. “Then you have this little puppy or this goofy dog, and people are naturally kind of drawn to it.”

Besides offering students a source of comfort, the wellness dog initiative stems from BUPD’s goal to gain more trust from students. Nee said BUPD is trying to “change the image of policing” and rectify distrust toward police that built up during country-wide fervor regarding police brutality in 2020.

“We had a lot to make up for as far as trying to build up that trust, because our goal is to let every single individual at this university know that we’re here for them, regardless of how they identify, regardless of if they hate us,” Nee said.

Nee said Sergeant Gregory Bellamy was behind the research and proposal concerning the logistics of obtaining a wellness dog.

“I think everybody saw some value in it,” Nee said about BUPD’s response to the proposal. “It shows the police officers in a different role. Not responding to a call, not telling you what you can and cannot do, so it reduces that stress.”

Although BUPD’s search for a wellness dog began while Nee was police chief, Lowe said he is looking forward to introducing Bean to BU and is excited to see the initiative through.

Bean is currently still in training, so she only makes on-campus appearances on Fridays, Lowe said. After she finishes training in 2025, she will be on campus full-time.

“She’s literally a showstopper. Anytime we bring her anywhere, people immediately stop what they’re doing,” Lowe said. “It’s been really great to see the engagement she’s had with the community already.”

Bean lives full-time with her handler, BUPD Officer Geovanni Chevere, who BUPD chose to be Bean’s handler during a competitive volunteer process. Lowe said Chevre and Bean clicked right away.

“[Chevre] didn’t choose Bean,” Lowe said. “Bean chose him.”

After adopting Bean, BUPD reached out to the BU student body to help choose a name for the pup. They opened up submissions via the official BU Instagram Story, where students could suggest name ideas. Lowe said the poll received over 500 responses. The top two name contenders were “Bean” and “Copley,” but Bean ultimately won.

A trading card featuring Bean. Bean is a golden retriever puppy that was adopted to provide comfort to the student body. MOLLY POTTER/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Abby Wilson, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, voted for the name “Bean” and was determined to meet her. Wilson and her friend saw on Instagram that she was making a guest appearance at the GSU Wednesday, Feb. 21.

“I was like, ‘We gotta go meet Bean,’” Wilson said.

When she arrived at the GSU, Bean was nowhere in sight — “then, all of a sudden, halfway into our meal, the elevator doors opened, and Bean ran out,” she said.

A crowd immediately formed around Bean, who was playful and started chewing on the sweatshirt string of one of her fans, Wilson said.

Wilson, a dog-lover with one of her own at home, said she missed her dog and appreciated seeing Bean. Wilson hopes to see Bean make an appearance at a hockey game, and, better yet, see Rhett and Bean together.

Ericka Correia, a sophomore in the College of Communication, met Bean outside the GSU on Feb. 21, like Wilson. She said a police car pulled up near her group of friends, and the officer said he had a surprise. Correia said she was confused until Bean came out of the car.

“We got so excited and ran over to the dog because Bean is the cutest thing ever,” Correia said. She noted that Bean was especially curious, playful and “excited to be outside.”

With her own baseball card and even an Instagram account, Bean is a popular addition to BU, Correia said.

“Leave it to BU to create a baseball card for a dog,” Correia said. “I love it. I have it in my backpack.”

Correia said she appreciates BUPD’s wellness dog initiative, as Bean can help students feel more comfortable entering the police station or give support to students who have to recount events that make them anxious.

“It’s just something that brightens people’s day, to see this sweet little puppy coming around,” Correia said. “I texted everyone I knew and said I met [Bean] and that it made me feel happy and gave me a good stress reliever for the day.”

Nee joked about her jealousy toward Bean, who now takes the crown as BUPD’s most popular member, even though she’s not yet on campus full-time.

“What we’re trying to do is provide a service to the community and build relationships and trust in this little fluffy, goofy puppy that loves to eat hair,” Nee said.

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One Comment

  1. Alessandra Kellermann of BU Parents United

    For years since the pandemic began, we begged for BU to follow the example of so many other colleges for wellbeing and to address the mental health crisis by making therapy dogs consistently available and even adopting their own for morale and all the other countless mental health benefits ! Finally we get this sweetheart and terriers are thrilled ! But just one ? We need more than one and we need terriers to have constant access in dorms and campus to these therapy dogs because suicides are way up on college campuses and BU knows how to be proactive especially with our amazing new President ! From all of us parents at BU Parents United on Facebook – thank you.