Two Upstate students sharing an apartment in downtown Syracuse have developed enduring – and contagious – cases of puppy love.
First Tim Lentini got Freya, a golden retriever. Then he and his puppy went with roommate, Connor Policastro to choose Leila, a Weimaraner.
“We agreed that there was no way that either of us was going to get a puppy unless we were both in agreement,” Policastro says. “It’s all about teamwork. It’s tough being a single parent.”
Policastro grew up in Connecticut and attended Syracuse University; he is in the MD/PhD program at Upstate. Lentini, who grew up in Queens, is a second-year medical student.
The men share dog care duties. Their apartment in an old watch factory is a half block from a small park. Dog lovers in nearby apartments are willing to pitch in with feedings or walks if Policastro and Lentini are tied up in laboratories or classrooms on campus — which is an 8-minute bike ride away.
Policastro grew up with many dogs and other pets. Lentini had one German shepherd briefly in childhood. Both were anxious to have dogs of their own. They chose puppies they could train over summer, when their schedules were lighter. Today, Freya and Leila fight like sisters, mostly over toys and attention. They’ve brought a warmth to the apartment.
“It’s nice having somebody be SO excited to see you when you get home,” Lentini says.