Therapy dogs calm stressed students during Dead Week

Students sitting with dog.

River the whippet gets some attention from Ph.D student in apparel design Laura Kane as River’s owner, Ann Dickerson, shares some information with students. Dickerson and River are part of the local Welcome Waggers group, which brings dogs into different therapeutic situations. Date: March 14, 2013 (photo: Theresa Hogue)

Local therapy dog group Welcome Waggers spent two afternoons this week at Valley Library, letting groups of students interact with their dogs to help calm nerves and aid with stress as they prepared for finals.

This is the first time that the library and OSU Press have sponsored the event, which drew long lines, and attracted more than 200 people in two hours on the first day.

Open to students, staff and faculty, the event was a chance for animal lovers to get in a little petting, and to learn more about the varied lives of the dogs, which included the ultra-fast whippet River, an 11-year-old capable of running 24 m.p.h but who was more interested in lazing at her owner, Ann Dickerson’s, feet, and Cairo, a German shepherd mix who was also a breast cancer survivor.

Participants were asked to fill out surveys of the experience, and positive feedback may increase the chances that this could be a reoccurring event. The smiles on the faces of students indicated that it was already a grand success.

~ Theresa Hogue


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