West Chester University students snuggled with therapy dogs at the annual Therapy Dog Extravaganza last week in Sykes Student Union.
It was finals week for all students, some of whom are graduating this weekend, adding to that holiday/year-end stress, so the WCU Counseling Center brought in a whole pack of cuddly, comforting canines to help students cope.
“Our dog therapy program is by far our most popular outreach with students,” said Dr. Rachel Daltry, Counseling Center Director and Chair of the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services. “We get constant positive feedback and expressions of gratitude from students for having the dogs on campus. We have even heard from some students that having the therapy dogs visit campus influenced their decision to come to WCU.”
During the semester, therapy dogs made 12 visits to campus. Therapy dogs have also visited South Campus, a practice that began this spring.
Emily Duckett confirms that students appreciate the outreach to South Campus. An athletic trainer and instructor in the Department of Sports Medicine in Sturzebecker Health Sciences Center, she sees smiles when she brings Ace, her therapy dog.
“Students see him and make comments like, ‘Ace, you just made my day’ or ‘Now I am ready to take my exam,’” Duckett said. “When students share simple moments like that with me, I know we are making a positive impact on their day. For me, bringing Ace to campus to help our students is a small way that I can help support them. I love watching the joy and positive energy that he helps our students cultivate through a few pats and a tail wag.”