Dogs on the roof–surely it’s “Animal House”

Let’s say you’re minding your own business, driving “up the road” (as they call it around here) to Houghton on icy snow-covered roads.  You’re talking about inconsequential matters to your husband.  You’re not really paying too much attention as you pass through Michigan Technological University.

You’re thinking about dinner.  You don’t know yet, but you’ll be eating chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves in about an hour.  You’ll savor some yellow rice and pinto beans.  You’ll slowly sip a glass of Chardonnay as you look over the frozen Portage Canal. 

You’ll feel better than you have all week.

But let’s back up.  You’re driving, maneuvering through rush hour traffic on the icy roads.  Which is inconsequential compared to Big City rush hour traffic.  But very consequential when compared to most Upper Peninsula driving experiences.  When suddenly–simultaneously–both you and your husband spot THEM.  Dogs!  Large dogs!  Husky-type dogs!  Sitting atop a ROOF on one of those Fraternity Houses!

Dogs on roof??!!

“Dogs–!” you gasp.  “Do you see them?”

The husband nods.  You look at each other. 

Photo op!”  you say together. 

“We must turn around,” you insist.  You find the nearest road.  You put on your blinker.  Wait, wait, wait. Hurry up, traffic!  The dogs won’t be there forever!

You scurry around the corner and get in another line of cars attempting to turn left.

“How ’bout you get out of the car and go take the picture?” you ask your husband. 

He agrees.  He grabs the camera and heads toward the dogs.  They are playing on the snow-covered sloped roof (it’s one of those roofs that isn’t at the very top of the fraternity house.  It’s a sub-roof.  It’s where those frat boys gather in their shorts in mid-February looking cute as they drink beer and pretend they’re in Barbados or Haiti in the middle of a U.P. winter.)

The dogs are restless now.  Get the picture!  Get the picture!  They won’t be there forever, you know.

They are running along the roof, barking.  What’s happening?  What’s happening?

Ah-ha!  A fraternity fellow is entering the downstairs door.  The dogs recognize him.  They know they’ll be let in an upstairs window.

One of the dogs prances wildly across the roof with a rag-doll toy, shaking it.  The other dogs bark excitedly.  One of their masters is home! 

Our photographer is snapping wildly from across the street.  Our driver (that would be the blog writer) has finally turned right into a bank parking lot.  She waits for the completion of the photo shoot.  For the dogs to be let in.

Hi there, dogs!

The upper window opens!  The dogs wag their big tails happily.  They disappear inside, one after another.

The blog writer and photographer get in their car.  They decide to turn right (and then left–further up the road–much easier on rush hour nerves) and head to the Library Restaurant for dinner. 

The photographer says, “It really is Animal House!”

You’ve all seen the movie “Animal House” haven’t you?  It features some wild & crazy fraternity boys (whom I believe were the “animals” in this case–not innocent dogs.)  We watched it ‘way back in 1978…it was crazy.

“We should watch Animal House again,” the blog writer suggested.  “For research purposes.  Of course.”

The photographer looked askance.

“I don’t think you could sit through it,” he replied.  “I know!  We could watch Blazing Saddles.”

“I will not watch Blazing Saddles,” said the blog writer.  “You can’t make me.  But I could watch Animal House.”

Stay tuned to discover if the blog writer/photographer watched Animal House.  Or if they simply chose to think of the big dogs wagging their tails on the roof the TKE house in Houghton. 

If you can look at a dog and not feel vicarious excitement and affection, you must be a cat.  ~Author Unknown

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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44 Responses to Dogs on the roof–surely it’s “Animal House”

  1. Gerry says:

    Doggie Daycare! That’s what I need.
    I loved Blazing Saddles the first time. Maybe I wouldn’t think it was funny now, or maybe I’d be embarrassed that I ever found it funny to begin with. Funny can be like that.

  2. Elisa's Spot says:

    I know some TKE brothers!

  3. barb says:

    Can you imagine what the INSIDE of that house looks like? Not a pretty thought. Ingenious though – the guys must be learning something in College. I’m thinking of booking a flight for the mid-Feb spectacle.

  4. Pretty funny . I am sending your post over to my brother & sister-in-law who attended Tech in the late 60’s. Good eye for the craziness of college students.

  5. Susan D says:

    Barking with laughter! Love, LOVE the doggies on the roof, and the story behind the great shots! What fun! Oh, and, ummm, I’d watch Blazing Saddles 3 more times before I’d watch Animal House again. BS (haha) had some of the most stupidly brilliant lines I’ve even heard! Thanks for the fun 😀

  6. Robin says:

    lol!! What a fun post and serendipitous capture! I love it. 🙂

    I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better than you have all week. Dinner sounds good, too.

    I’d watch both movies again. Although I could do without the bean scene in Blazing Saddles.

  7. Karma says:

    I can’t believe there are dogs on a fraternity house roof! Would I be weird for thinking dogs are not normally allowed to live on college campuses?
    Thanks for stopping the car and getting this shot!!

  8. photobyholly says:

    What a sight! Good thing you insisted on getting the shots while you did – you were right that the dogs wouldn’t be there for long! It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen Animal House… I actually don’t remember very much from it!

  9. Who let the dogs out….????

    Great catch!

  10. What a fun post this one is Kathy! We don’t seem to have fraternity houses here. I think they would be the same as what is referred to here as “living on campus”, which is accomodation set up specifically for university students (which I believe is called “college” in the States!)

    Love the building, and your dinner sounds very yummy! I love it that your husband seems to have the same crazy sense of adventure as you do! 🙂

  11. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:


    Dogs on a roof. Who knew?!

  12. Martha Bergin says:

    Susan up there got my comment before me. “Barking with laughter!” WOOF!!!! 🙂 Ah! There’s my pun! The doggies are on the woof!

  13. john says:

    You are Seth Godin’s ideal marketer. The object is not enough, it has to have a story to tell. The pictures were nice, but the pictures with the story were great!

  14. Dawn says:

    Now see? If you had driven by that sight while you weren’t blogging what would you have been able to do with it? It would have eaten you up not to share it…and we’d all have missed it as well! I’m going to send it to my brother who went to MTU in the late 70’s.

  15. Kathy says:

    Thank you all kindly! I am glad you liked the doggies, too. Isn’t it wonderful to blog? Otherwise, who would stop and capture a photo like this?

  16. Barbara says:

    Great story and pictures! You and your husband make a great team!!

  17. bearyweather says:

    Thanks for the fun story … needed a smile today and dogs on a roof, great fun. I would have had to
    look several times just to believe it …
    They have a very imaginative way to keep a dog at home. No fence, no chains .. only a messy roof.

  18. I haven’t visited in a long time and this is the first blog I read 😆
    What a fantastic blog today. Boys will be boys!

  19. aubrey says:

    OK. This was made me inexcuseably HAPPY.

    I’ve seen Animal House and in a way lived it – when I was at UCLA I remember sitting outside reading when a couple of students ran past me wearing togas. I loved the movie, but I those guys sure got on my nerves.

  20. flandrumhill says:

    I could barely sit through Animal House and Blazing Saddles the first time!

    Love your quotation at the end 🙂

  21. Kathy says:

    Thank you again, everyone. I promised to tell you–no, I didn’t watch Animal House last weekend. It was tempting. But instead found something else to do Saturday night while Barry played a gig with his band at the Uphill 41 in Hancock. Although I can’t–for the life of me–tell you what I did. lol!

  22. Marianne says:

    Very funny sight, indeed. But, could be a little dangerous I think.

  23. Charlie says:

    Kind of harsh to call this Fraternity “Animal House”. I was good friends with the TKE at Michigan Tech when I went to school. I had a few of them in my senior design classes. Another TKE was my math learning center coach and another member was my physics learning center coach. They do a lot for the community. A lot more community service and overall well-being than you would think. These dogs are the most well behaved and trained dogs I have ever met in my life. There is no danger with them being on the roof, they take so much pride and care in training there dogs. I feel that calling them “Animal House” is a completely rude and ignorant statement. I know the brothers of TKE would not like being called this. They do more for the community than any other fraternity on campus, and they do not deserve to be called “Animal House”. That is an offensive statement to make.

    Michigan Tech Class of 2006

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Charlie, for sharing this. I certainly did not mean to be rude and offensive–ever. I only chose the “Animal House” heading because there were animals on the roof and it was a fraternity. We have known some TKE guys who were wonderful citizens and who do a lot for the community, as well. It was a joy to see the dogs on the roof! Thank you for supporting these fraternity fellows.

      • Susan D says:

        Interesting perspective. I didn’t find anything offensive at all in the post or in the play on words … which is what writers do, with no mal-intent. Glad to hear about the awesome community service performed by the TKE members! And the dogs are fortunate, too, to have tender masters.

        Former Little Sister – Chi Phi Fraternity
        University of Florida – 1972

        • Kathy says:

          Glad you didn’t find it offensive, Susan! I know a lot of people seemed to enjoy the “play on words” and fell in love with those dogs. Thank you so much.

        • Charlie Solis says:

          haha this is vary cool to see and thank you other charlie for defending us. Animal House can most certainly be taken the wrong way. i would just like to say tho that i am a brother in TKE and a physics major here at Michigan tech. I’m pretty sure none of us got offended by that. we actually really like to here about people seeing our dogs on the roof and most definitely like to hear that people notice our efforts in the community. but your both kinda right tho. we like to work hard and im sure there are people that know we like to play hard too. but who doesn’t, am i right? one my brothers actually came across this blog using and posted the link on facebook under the name “TEKE HOUSE DOGS ARE FAMOUS!!!” and this has certainly brought a smile to my face, so thank you.

          Charlie Solis – 518
          Tau Kappa Epsilon – Mu Lambda

          • Kathy says:

            Hi Charlie #2! I am glad you liked this and that–hopefully–nobody else got offended. So happy that some of you guys are seeing the blog! We had such fun that day taking pictures of your adorable dogs. It really MADE our afternoon! Glad to hear you guys do so much for the community…you certainly make passers-by smile. 🙂

    • Isaac Ford says:

      Yea I don’t think any one took offense to the term “Animal House” in fact I know a lot of our alumni would chuckle at the reference in the shenanigans we’ve pulled. But like you said, we also like to be acknowledged for the good things we do in adopt a highway and other charitable events. Thanks for the support and our “fifteen minutes of fame”. And Kathy, if you are ever in the mood to meet the dogs and the brothers try and get a hold of us before your next visit and you can get some close up shots of the dogs, brothers, and new and improved inside of the house. Our most recent and probably most important upgrade was our third floor bathroom, its still in the process but should turn out nice by spring.

      • Kathy says:

        Isaac, my husband said we HAVE to stop in and visit you guys on one of our next trips to Houghton. He says I should photograph your new floor and give you another “fifteen minutes of fame.” lol! Is there a phone number we should call? (And glad you enjoyed this…)

  24. Jacob says:

    Great post! I’m actually an alumni of the TKE house at Michigan Tech, exciting to see our dogs getting their 15 minutes of fame! Something you might not know, the owner of the Library Restaurant you ate at is also a TKE alumni! As for the inside of the house as someone had mentioned it might look subpar, we actually recently had the floor restored to it’s original hardwood, and it looks incredible inside.

    • Kathy says:

      Jacob, I’m glad you liked this! It was fun to see the dogs and get so excited about them. And it looks like LOTS of people are viewing this post. Fun! It also sounds like it’s beautiful inside. It would be neat to peek inside so many of the beautiful fraternity and sorority houses up at Tech.

  25. Achilles, Atlas, Odie, Atlas! Hahaha I love these dogs, and go figure one of my friends who is a brother there posted this on facebook saying that the TKEs are famous now, lol. It’s the best in the summer, or spring even. When the weather up here finally hits 60 everyone goes out onto the ‘beach’… occasionally flinging water balloons at the fraternity across the street 😛 I’m so happy that you think it’s as cool as when I first saw it!

    • Kathy says:

      Those are the dogs’ names? How cool! I was wondering why I suddenly have had over 100 hits with people looking at this post. Glad to give the TKE’s five minutes of fame! Love your spring story. I’ve seen the guys sitting up there on the roof, but have never seen the water balloons. Tell them to watch out–that will be the next picture!

  26. Elisa's Spot says:

    OHHHHHHH see now, an invite to the TKE house!!! Even Barry didn’t get one of those!!! (giggles, stirs with large stick, and runs)

    • Kathy says:

      Barry is convinced that he’s included in the invite, too. (He actually took the photograph, you know. Remember I was driving?) He says we’re going… 🙂

  27. Pav #245 says:

    Lived in that house in the early 80s as a Teke. We refer to that porch roof as the Beach. It has a gentle slope and once shoveled actually is a nice place to sit and watch the college life and US41 traffic roll by. There have been a long line of Tekehouse dogs that have frequented the Beach and the house always has 2 or 3 onhand retiring them to alumni as the get older. Nice blog, love the animal house comments.

    • Kathy says:

      I like that, Pav…”The Beach.” We’ve seen some folks sitting there in their shorts in the middle of winter and spring. I’m always going to think so fondly of the TKE’s now. Thanks for stopping by!

  28. Ha-Ha (Nickname when in TKE House) says:

    Thanks for the comments and pictures. It brings back many memories for me. I’m an alumni and lived in the house in the late 70’s, early 80’s. Back then the dogs were Hercules, Konan, and Sampson. Contrary to assumptions by some early bloggers, the inside of the house is remarkable. Built in 1893, 7 fireplaces, an oak paneled room, etc. The ‘beach’ has always been a great place for parties, relaxing, etc. I’m also glad to hear that the community service continues.

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Ha-Ha, I am so glad you enjoyed this! It was so fun to write it last winter. Interesting to think that there were dogs back in the late 70’s and early ’80’s too. Have you been back to Houghton since then?

  29. Ryan says:

    I too am an alumni and a TKE, and I have spent my share of time there on what is known as the “beach.” You just made me miss Michigan Tech so much! By the way, the TKE household is very strict about their dogs. There is an elected position that is dedicated to taking care of the dogs. Also they “retire” after about 3-5 years and go home with an graduating member to live in a much quieter environment.

    • Kathy says:

      Ryan, I am glad to have reminded you of happy days at Michigan Tech. Thanks for sharing all the additional information about the dogs. It’s interesting this 2011 post “came to light” again. I had at least 150 viewers from Facebook in the last couple days!

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