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Therapy dogs invade the dorms



University of Virginia


Therapy dogs invade the dorms

"Dogs in Dorms" brings relaxation to students after stressful midterms.

Staci McKean


For most, midterms are finally behind us, and after the constant studying and stress over our grades, some form of relaxation is necessary.

That's where "Dogs in Dorms" comes in! Started by UVA's Human Animal Support Services Club, "Dogs in Dorms" is an event that aims to help students de-stress after midterms and take a break from schoolwork. It's also aimed to help those who are having a ruff time adjusting to college-life, or who are just missing their pets who were left at home. While "Dogs in Dorms" is held at first-year dorms and is focused around first-year students, upperclassmen are certainly not barred from attending.

On Wednesday the 25th, Andy, the service dog in training, visited the McCormick Road dorms along with his handler to give some much needed stress relief.

There was a constant crowd around Andy, but the friendly, nine month old English Labrador was enjoying every second of it. When asked, the students there agreed that Andy's presence was undoubtedly a stress reliever.
Human Animal Support Services (HASS) first started their therapy dog events at the end of the semester during finals. "Hounds for Hoos," as the event was called, brought therapy dogs into the libraries around grounds to invite students to take a break from studying for finals, and to help ease students' stress during such a busy time.

HASS then expanded the event to include "Dogs in Dorms" earlier in the semester. The organization also started volunteering at the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA last semester.
HASS President, second year Bridget Rizzo, says that "even volunteering is like animal therapy. It's great to get away and take a break, and just spend some time with the dogs."

"It's just really rewarding to plan these events and to volunteer. It makes a difference for a lot of people."