Wednesday, January 23, 2013

College Students Are Going to the Dogs

Colleges all across the America are going to the dogs.  Tufts, UNC, Oberlin, Harvard and Yale are just a few institutions of higher learning where students have discovered that therapy dogs can relieve the stress and strain of college life.  After trying massage, yoga, pizza parties, and other activities we won’t mention to reduce pressure, they hit the jackpot with furry, four-legged stress relievers.
 Scholars at Harvard and Yale libraries can check out resident therapy dogs instead of books.  Many students miss the pets left behind and the comforts of home.  More and more colleges and universities have pet-friendly dorms now.  Therapy dogs and other pets provide a connection to home.  Stressed out, especially when studying for final exams, college students can unwind and forget their studies and problems when petting and interacting with the dogs.

The calming and therapeutic effect of therapy dogs is no secret.  They visit hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools, and libraries.   Therapy dogs have been called upon after crisis situations like 911, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and recently after the tragedy at Sandy Hook School at Newtown, Connecticut. 

A chapter in my book, Life with McDuff: LessonsLearned from a Therapy Dog, tells how I became a therapy dog volunteer.  If you own a dog who likes people and other animals, loves to be petted, and has basic obedience training, why not consider becoming a therapy dog volunteer?  See my web site for links containing information about Therapy Dogs International, Therapy Dogs, Inc., Reading with Rover, and AKC Canine Good Citizen Test.
Pass the word!  Today’s college students are going to the dogs.

Friday, January 4, 2013


The dog in this video interacting with a Down’s syndrome baby just knows. She knows how to offer love and acceptance. She knows that this baby is special. Even though not a trained therapy dog, she just knows. How many times have you sat mired deep in despair because of some real or imagined problem and a furry head comes to rest on your knee, eyes borrowing deep into yours, and a tail furiously wagging “it’s going to be alright?” Or, what happens when some unbelievably good fortune comes your way. You shout and jump for joy, and guess who jumps with you barking and spinning around in excitement? Dogs just know when you are happy, and they know when you are sad. My Scottish terrier therapy dog comforted me many times. He instinctively knew how to reach out and ease me through the storms of our life together. I write about it in my book, Life with McDuff: Lessons Learned from a Therapy Dog. The baby in the video experienced what we dog lovers have witnessed time after time. Dogs just know!