Therapy Dogs Coming to Maranatha

by Isabella Doumitt, Conner Knauss, & Lance Lorca
Every year during finals season, the stress can overwhelm students and faculty making our school environment less relaxed. This year some of the stress brought on by finals will be relieved when the non-profit organization, Love On 4 Paws, brings therapy dogs to our campus. On Monday, December 19, Maranatha will host therapy dogs to help students cope with the stress of finals. Stress dogs have been implemented successfully in universities across the U.S., and are becoming increasingly more popular for use in academic environments. This is the first time Maranatha has ever hosted dogs for this purpose, and students will be able to pet the furry creatures and forget about the worries of finals.

Interview with Patrick, an owner of pet therapy dogs and a volunteer at the Huntington Hospital.

Lance: So what are your dogs’ names and what breeds are they?

Patrick: This is Jade and Leo and they are Labrador Retrievers.

L: So when did you and your dog start volunteering at the hospital?

P: I started in 2007 with mimg_0658y first dog, May, a chocolate lab.

L: What are the basic tasks you do at Huntington Hospital with your dog?

P: Well, we go and visit patients, but my area is psychiatric. And we also do chemical dependency and we visit cardio rehab. So we have lots of areas but we have 33 dogs at Huntington. We are all assigned an area and we cannot go in other’s areas. And my area a psychiatric, which is the Della Martin ward.

L: What day do you volunteer and how long?

P: We volunteer once a week on Wednesdays, about a couple hours, 2-3 hours once a week.

L: How do you think dogs help distress people and what is the reason why you keep on volunteering?
img_0659P: Well, pet therapy is still kind of new and still people are learning about it. But basically, petting the dog lowers the blood pressure. Mental patients really need the dogs because lots of them were neglected by their own family members and society, so the only thing they go for are the dogs which calms them down and lets them feel better and the reason why I like doing it is because of how seeing what Pet Therapy does to people. And I just like it because as long as I am helping somebody, that can make my day and when they say “You made my day,” then that means I’ve done my job.


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