“Dog Days” help ease campus homesickness
At 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)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
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