Finals Week Went to the Dogs

Therapy dogs help students cope with stress

Man’s best friend helped turn the stress of Finals Week into smiles, selfies and solace at Kent State University.

Twenty-two pooches from Dogs on Campus Pet Therapy Program® filled the library for students to enjoy.  

 

 

Kent State freshman Mandi Harmon made it through her first Finals Week with the help of a Doberman Pinscher named Luke. 

“He is really sweet,” Harmon said. “Just the feeling of petting an animal and the connection you can have with them, it really is an amazing thing. It really does calm the nerves.”

For 10 years, the program has been comforting students at Kent State in the residence halls, classrooms and at events. The participants also make emergency calls to those going through unfortunate circumstances.

“We’re very quiet,” said Kathy Adamle, Ph.D., a Kent State nursing professor who started the Dogs on Campus program. “We just let the dogs do their work.”

Adamle came up with the idea to bring the therapy dogs to a well population on campus instead of a sick one, such as a hospital where many therapy dogs visit. As a result, Dogs on Campus became the first-ever college-based program in the United States. 

Adamle has been researching its impact and had her first article published in the Journal of American College Health in 2005. She is currently studying what role pet therapy plays across cultures.

“What I’m finding is that the longer we are here, the more international students visit and they like it, so we are going to do a little study on that: what pets are in their countries versus what pets are in this country,” Adamle said.

Judging by the interaction with students in the library, the therapy dogs speak a universal language.

“It makes you feel good,” said Kent State freshman Charlie Botzman, who is studying fine arts. “It makes you feel like there is somebody who is not judging you on grades right now, and that’s definitely a good feeling.”   

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POSTED: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 3:55pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 12:23pm
WRITTEN BY:
Kristin Anderson