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“Dog Days” help ease campus homesickness

susquehannaAt Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, faculty and staff bring their dogs to school every Tuesday during September, gather on a grassy field and allow students to have their homesickness washed away by spending an hour with the hounds.

The events are aimed at helping students overcome their homesickness, which often includes a longing for the family dog, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The “Dog Days” have been held on campus for five years.

They were started by former counseling director Kathy Bradley, now executive director of health and counseling at Gettysburg College. Bradley has started a similar program there. A few times a semester, Bucknell University in Lewisburg, which heard about Susquehanna’s program, brings trained therapy dogs – some owned by staff members – to campus to visit with students.

“The fact is that students miss their pets, sometimes more than they miss their families,” said Anna Beth Payne, associate dean of student life and director of Susquehanna’s counseling center.

Professors especially like the opportunity for the informal gatherings, saying they break the ice and can help make the campus, and the professors, seem less intimidating to students.

Nine dogs showed up on a recent Tuesday, a typical turnout, and dozens of students stopped to play with them, one of whom said she missed her dog, Babe, back home in Maine — at leas as much as she missed her mother.

“It’s a close tie between the dog and my mom,” she said.

(Philadelphia Inquirer photo by Robert Landry)


Comment from Miss Jan
Time October 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm

TOO BAD that all of these academics don’t have any influence in local professional sports. There is a MAJOR disconnect going on in Philadelphia and environs. On the one hand you have rational caring people who care about dogs. And then you have the Vick situation. In this instance it must be because academics get the short end of the financial stick in favor of BIG sports (don’t get me started on big dollar college sports!!!)

Comment from victor louise
Time August 25, 2010 at 1:43 pm

are you going to post videos you took at
dogwood park in jacksonville fla we are the
people you intervied victor and louise and
dogs rocky and angel thanks

Comment from jwoestendiek
Time August 26, 2010 at 7:20 am

Victor and Louise, I’m pretty sure I haven’t been to Jacksonville, Fla.