De-stressing: it’s a dog’s life

Lauren Boone, Managing Editor

The University’s Psychological Services and student-led organization Active Minds sponsored the visit of therapy dogs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the Bertrand Library.

“Dogs have a way of putting a smile on anyone’s face. Just seeing them makes you automatically feel better,” Julia Lasko ’17 said.

Tracy Russell, Director of the Women’s Resource Center, began hosting these visits for students almost 10 years ago. The University’s Psychological Services has taken on the project for the past three years.

The program brings the certified therapy dogs of the Susquehanna Trail Dog Training Club to campus at the beginning and end of each semester. With these visits, Psychological Services hopes to alleviate students’ stress.

“The purpose is to make students feel better and offer them an opportunity to interact with animals. Research foundation in animal therapy demonstrates that when animals are around, people’s blood pressure goes down, stress and anxiety levels are reduced, people feel less lonely and less depressed, and they tend to be more social and community oriented,” staff psychologist Marina Shafran said.

Students and faculty that attended the event enjoyed the visit of about 15 dogs of various breeds, including Labradors, St. Bernards, and other smaller dogs.

“It always reminds me how wonderful Bucknell and life is when all it takes is a dog to make you smile through hours of reading and essays,” Cheyenne Mendes ’16 said.

“It is impossible not to smile at these events,” Shafran said.

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