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Dug the therapy dog gets distracted by Ohio students in Alden Library on Sept. 15, 2022.

Therapy dogs in libraries to soothe students during finals

Finals can be stressful, but it is nothing that spending time with the amazing therapy dogs, Dug and Penny, in Alden Library and Music and Dance Library in Glidden Hall cannot fix.

The library staff in Alden and Glidden are hosting a series of events such as button making, to help students find a relaxing outlet while they are preparing for their exams. They are also handing out “Finals Survival Kits” on Alden’s fourth floor starting at 10 a.m. Monday morning. The full schedule for their finals week activities can be found on the university library’s website.  

Alden is hosting the therapy dogs Monday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on the second floor. On Thursday, all interested parties can visit the pups in the Glidden at the same time. 

All therapy dogs have to go through special training and Dug and Penny were no exception. Their owner, Rinda Scoggan, who works for the university's counseling and psychiatric services, trains them herself. After training, the dogs are evaluated to determine if they are fit to be therapy dogs or not.

The canines go through basic training to teach them to sit, stay and other common rules that dogs are taught. After that, they have to go through extra training that exposes them to different situations and environments that they may encounter as therapy dogs.

“As puppies, you take your fingers and go through their toes,” Scoggan said. “You pull their tail, and their ears, their mouth, because during the evaluation, the handler, or the evaluator will go all over the dog and touch them everywhere.”

The dogs have to be comfortable with any form of contact so that they do not snap at or bite the people that they are with. 

There are many benefits in having access to therapy dogs other than getting a chance to pet them. According to the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, therapy dogs significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels in university students. 

“With finals and final projects happening and worrying about packing up everything to go home, seeing a dog was nice,” said Cooper Figley, a freshman studying music production.

The students body’s appreciation is shown in all the love that the dogs receive. Carla Williams, a librarian in the Music and Dance Library, said that turnout to the event is always high.

“When the dog is in they (the students) kind of come and go,” Williams said.

The dogs also offer a great opportunity for students to connect and get to know each other. While they are all gathered around the dog, they talk about the projects they have due and the finals they have quickly approaching. Anything that is causing them stress at the time seems to be a topic of conversation.

They are able to converse and bond over their shared experience of the stress of finals week all while having the comforting presence of a dog right next to them. 

“It is great bonding, relaxation and sometimes they just miss their dog at home.” Scoggan said.

There are many reasons to go and visit Dug and Penny at the library between exams and enjoy the company of these lovable animals.

“There's not a single bit of hate in dogs,” said Figley. “They’re little balls of love.” 


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