A boy and his dog

GVL / Courtesy - J.J. McGrath

GVL / Courtesy – J.J. McGrath

Maddie Forshee

It was a easy enough decision for Grand Valley State University student J.J. McGrath. He takes his dog, Tahoe, everywhere with him, so why wouldn’t he take her to class with him?

What McGrath didn’t expect was to get worldwide attention for the act. After tweeting about taking Tahoe, a 3-year-old golden retriever, to class with him, McGrath amassed over 77,000 retweets and over 90,000 likes on the single tweet.

“I thought that if I took pictures of Tahoe it could be funny for my friends to see,” McGrath said. “I didn’t expect it to blow up like that.”

The idea to bring Tahoe to class with him started as a joke. McGrath said that his sociology class was a tight-knit group of students, so he felt like it could be appropriate. After emailing professor Jennifer Stewart asking for permission a few times, Stewart finally agreed to let a new student come to class for the day.

“The students were cool with it, and as soon as the professor got there, she played with (Tahoe),” said McGrath. “But we still had to learn. I thought we were going to get a day off.”

McGrath said that Tahoe enjoyed her time spent in class. The pup is social and loves to be around people, and that was reciprocated with the students in class. McGrath said that Tahoe spent time with every student as well as the professor before sitting back down with her owner.

“Tahoe just hung out and walked around class, said hello to everyone,” McGrath said. “Eventually she got pretty bored and came and sat by me.”

Within a few hours of posting the pictures, the tweet had garnered a lot of attention, though McGrath isn’t too sure about what it was that made it so popular.

“I think everyone just wants to bring their dog to school,” he said. “It’s been crazy. I have no idea why it blew up like that.”

He said that within an hour, hundreds of GVSU students were interacting with the tweet, which led McGrath to delete the Twitter app on his phone. After checking his account a few hours later, he saw that people were retweeting and quoting the tweet in different languages.

McGrath himself has received a lot of attention, online and off. He gained about 4,000 followers on Twitter, mostly people asking him to post photos of Tahoe.

“Everywhere I go for the past three or four days, even without (Tahoe), people recognize me,” he said.

Since their first visit to campus was so successful, McGrath wants to bring Tahoe on campus to hang out again.

“I could just do ‘the day of Tahoe’ all the time,” he said. “Next semester, I’m definitely trying it.”

The duo have not been together for very long. McGrath only got Tahoe about three months ago from a family friend that breeds golden retrievers, but he’s met her before since his family’s dogs are from the same breeder. In addition to Tahoe, his family has six other retrievers.

“My family take our dogs everywhere, so it’s not weird that I have my dog at school,” McGrath said.

McGrath said that Tahoe, a former show dog, is happy wherever he takes her, which is pretty standard for a young golden retriever.

“She’s the best dog,” he said. “If you’re petting her and you stop, she’ll just tackle you. She has no sense of direction, she’ll walk underneath you on accident, she’s a ditzy golden retriever.”