Come for pickup, stay for puppies: Dog-owner parents socialize on Kenwood


Chloe Ma

A little boy pets Puka, the family dog of students Ace and Chloe Ma, on Kenwood Mall. Parents with dogs have been taking advantage of pickup time to get to know each other.

Victoria Washington, Reporter

It’s 3 p.m. Scattered across the sidewalk are parents, eagerly waiting for their students to be dismissed. But parents aren’t the only ones in this scene. Kenwood Mall is covered by wagging tails and noisy barks. Dogs play and sniff the surrounding area, waiting for their owner’s kids to appear. 

The presence of dogs allows families to socialize during pick up while waiting for their students but may cause a potential threat to students.  

Many parents bring their furry companions along to both pickup and drop off and enjoy allowing their dogs to get fresh air while waiting for their children.

“I bring my dog here every day,” said Shuna Wang, parent of a seven-month-old puppy, Chloe.

According to Robyn Roland, high school attendance secretary and former safety and security officer, there are no regulations around parents bringing non-service dogs to Kenwood Mall, even though they are inside the school gates. 

“A lot of people believe that Kenwood Mall is owned by Lab, but it’s still public space,” Ms. Roland said. 

Because of its availability to the public, Laboratory Schools security personnel are unable to ask parents to remove their dogs, unless the dogs display unruly behavior or there is a major security threat.

While Ms. Roland notes this academic school year has not seen an increase in dogs being brought to school, she has noticed more parents congregating outside, a factor induced by the pandemic. 

On a national level, an increased demand for dogs has left many shelters with wait lists up to a year long, according to the Washington Post.

The Prevention of Cruelty Los Angeles had adoptions soar to 10-13 daily, double their usual rate, in June 2020. 

Without the rigor of daily life or the ability to travel freely during lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, many turned to dogs for company.

The Post also reported that 25% of people who agreed to foster dogs at the beginning of the pandemic from Animal Care Centers of NYC, wished to adopt them by June of the same year. 

The ability to socialize through pets has allowed parents like Shuna Wang to talk with other parents for a brief period of time, something that was not possible during the pandemic. 

It’s 3:45 p.m. Kenwood Mall has cleared out quickly, and the absence of waggy tails and noisy barks is noted. But, the dogs will be back tomorrow, once again, patiently waiting for their owners to appear.