Essentially a canine celebrity, students may be familiar with Dean Benjamin Rifkin’s dog Webster from his campus visits. Rifkin acted as a pup publicist, answering questions for The Signal on behalf of his four-legged friend.
Technically a golden retriever, Rifkin explained that Webster prefers to just be called a “golden,” because he does not see a point in chasing after inanimate objects.
In May 2004, the Rifkin family adopted Webster through the “Rescue a Golden of Minnesota” program. Webster is estimated to be 10.5 years old now.
Tummy rubs and ear scratches are Webster’s weaknesses, and he loves leaning against whoever scratches him.
Webster’s favorite food? “Whatever I am eating at the given moment,” Rifkin said.
His favorite campus location is Alumni Grove, Rifkin said, “because that’s where the action is: people moving between books and food and sometimes they drop the food … And the squirrels.” He enjoys attempting to chase squirrels.
“Another thing Webster loves about TCNJ is PAWS. He thinks that the symbol of PAWS looks just like his own paws,” Rifkin explained.
When asked what dogs Webster admires, Rifkin said, “I think his number one role model is Ben, a golden retriever who appeared as Shadow in ‘Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.’ Part of the reason he likes Ben is that he thinks that Ben has a very cool name.”
Tied for second place are Buddy from “Airbud” and Paddington from the Bush’s Baked Beans commercials.
Though a fan of “Airbud,” Webster is not the most successful canine athlete himself. According to Rifkin, “He has on occasion while playing with another dog run into a tree or a person. My daughter once called him a klutz and I told her that that’s just another reason why we know he is a true member of our family.”
To learn more about Webster’s owner, Dean Rifkin, click here.