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JoAnna Lou
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Borrow a Dog at the Library
Yale Law lets students “check out” the resident therapy pup
Crystal, a therapy dog, visits students at the University of California Riverside.

Last week, Yale Law School’s library started offering therapy dog services on a trial basis. Interest has been high, so it’s hopeful that the program will continue.

Students can sign up at the circulation desk to “check out” Monty, a certified therapy dog, for 30-minute sessions of stress busting. The Border Terrier-mix belongs to librarian Julian Aiken, so he’s well loved even when he’s “off duty.”

As you can imagine, it’s easy for students’ stress levels to rise at the nation’s top-ranked law school, so the librarians are always looking for new services to offer. After reading about the benefits of therapy dogs, they contemplated the idea for some time.

To keep the peace among any non-dog lovers, Monty is hypoallergenic and visits are confined to a non-public space in the library.

The idea of therapy dogs and college students isn’t quite new. Other schools, which include Tufts University, New York University (where my therapy group, The Good Dog Foundation, visits), Oberlin College, and the University of California, invite dogs to campus during finals, but Yale is the first I’ve heard of that lets students “check out” a therapy dog.

A little one-on-one time with a friendly pup sounds like the perfect way to beat stress!

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
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Submitted by Karen London | March 30 2011 |

I love the idea of therapy dogs helping ease students' stress, especially during exam week, but I'm a little concerned about borrowing dogs as one borrows books. All that turnover could be stressful for dogs, and it's not clear to me that anyone is overseeing the treatment of the dog while "on loan."

Submitted by C Odio | March 31 2011 |

If "visits are confined to a non-public space in the library" it seems that there would logically be some oversight.

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