Therapy Dogs and College Students: Helping Students De-Stress Before Exams
Myles and Buddy Visit Western Carolina University Library At Exam Time!
Last night Myles and his younger brother, Buddy, had so much fun! The librarians at Western (North) Carolina University invited our CEO, Kristin Walker, to bring her therapy dogs to their event, “Long Night Against Procrastination!” This idea “began in Germany and is gaining popularity in the US and Canada. Students … have the opportunity to focus on specific projects in a safe and supportive space improving time management skills, reducing stress and enhancing academic performance.” The library stayed open until 2 the next morning and even hosted a “survivor’s breakfast” at 1:30 am.
Sarah Steiner who is the Department Head for Research and Instruction Services for Hunter Library of WCU let us know she has been trying to bring in therapy dogs for this kind of event for a long time. We were happy to help her bring her vision to this innovative campus. Because Kristin has been traveling so much her therapy dog visits have become more sporadic but this was an event she didn’t want to miss. We’ve already been invited back and will definitely make the time!
While tutoring and research assistance were important goals for this exam week before Spring Break, the dogs were invited to offer stress relief. You can see by these photos that it was not very difficult “work” for the dogs—they chased balls thrown by those who gathered in a circle on the floor and were petted by as many as four student scholars simultaneously! Although they left a giant hairball on the floor from all that petting no one complained.
At first the students were a little unsure about what to make of dogs at the front desk of the library, but the dogs lay down on the floor and rolled over so the students would learn what to do (pet them!)
After a while the dogs wanted to catch some balls so the students obliged. (Photo: Myles has the ball for now, but Buddy is close on his tail)
Myles’ persistent hovering at the snack table paid off when a perceptive student finally gave him a treat.
By midway through the 90-minute session Kristin spent most of her time talking to the students about “life”. She said, “It was mostly young women who sat down with the dogs on the floor but they were asking me a ton of questions, often about therapy dog work. It was funny when one of them asked me, “So, is this your job?” I said, “No, I own my own consulting company but this is my volunteer work. It keeps me from going crazy in the corporate world.” This did open up about 800 questions for all of these young women just about to venture into the business world. You just never know who you might influence when you volunteer your time. Show up, get on the floor, get your hands “dirty” and give of your time. She’s already had several emails from students that want to incorporate the use of animals in their own therapy work.
By the end of the session everybody seemed to be feeling “the love”.
Be sure to visit www.MylesOfSmiles.com for more information:
Tags: animal assisted therapy, Border Collie, Kristin Sunanta Walker, Kristin Walker, long night against procrastination, Mental Health Is Real, mental health news radio, MHNR, Myles, myles of smiles, Not Changing the Name, Sarah Steiner, therapy, therapy dogs, WCU, What is Mental Health?