Therapy Dog Day at Finals

small gray dog in a red vest being pet by several Miami students

Did you know that the simple act of petting a dog can improve your health? 

Research demonstrates the significant, positive impact dogs have on people's moods, including increased happiness, lowered stress and heart rate, and lower levels of cortisol, all beneficial for our hearts.

The Student Counseling Service (SCS) has been bringing dogs to campus for years. Their therapy dog program is their most popular outreach program. “Therapy dogs provide comfort and companionship which increases emotional well-being, promotes healing, and improves the quality of life for the students who interact with the therapy dogs,” said Jennifer Young, licensed psychologist and assistant director for outreach and programming in SCS. 

SCS works with trained dog handlers and therapy dogs for these programs. University Ambassador Dr. Renate Crawford is Miami's newest therapy dog handler after completing training and certification for her dog Newton. 

Black, white and brown dog being pet by several studentsThose with anxiety, depression, grief/loss issues, loneliness and homesickness especially benefit from petting dogs. However, students do not need to have a mental health concern to visit and enjoy a session with the therapy dogs. Any student stressed by a demanding schedule, distance from loved ones, or perhaps missing a family pet companion is welcome at therapy dog events.  

In addition to weekly sessions with therapy dogs throughout the semester, SCS hosts larger therapy dog events during midterms and finals weeks. During these events, students can pet dogs, visit with volunteer dog handlers, interact with other students and friends, and take a break from studying. 

The 2021 finals week event, Therapy Dog Day at Finals, will be held in the Shriver Center Dolibois Rooms A and B on Monday, December 6, from 1 to 4 p.m.  

Masks are required and no other animals or food are permitted at the event.