Tag: mental health
At the Yale University Law Library, you can check out ”Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law.” You can check out “The Supreme Court A to Z: A Ready Reference Encyclopedia.”
Or, you can check out Monty, a terrier mix whose mission, in an experimental program started this month, is to de-stress, during final exam time, the litigators of tomorrow.
You’d think a genius farm like Yale University would have figured out sooner — as some smaller and lesser known colleges have — that dogs can, physically and emotionally, help students through troubled or stressful times.
But, for the school whose mascot is an English bulldog named Handsome Dan, it’s better late than never.
In the pilot program, students can check out Monty – a 21-pound “certified library therapy dog” who provides 30-minute sessions of what ABCNews describes as “unconditional, stress-busting puppy love.”
“The interest in available slots has been high,” said Jan Conroy, a spokeswoman for Yale Law School.
In a March 10 memo, law librarian Blair Kauffman said she hoped the free, three-day pilot pet therapy program would be “a positive addition to current services offered by the library … It is well documented that visits from therapy dogs have resulted in increased happiness, calmness and overall emotional well-being.” The memo directed students to the website of Therapy Dogs International for more information.
The school has yet to decide if the program will be ongoing. Likely, it being Yale Law School, there are liability concerns — the type that are known to paralyze bureaucracies and often limit the good dogs can do, based on mostly baseless fears.
Monty, for example, though he is said to be hypoallergenic, will hold his visits in a “designated non-public space” in the library to eliminate “potential adverse reactions from any library user who might have dog-related concerns.”
Concerns have also been expressed about the sign-up list for Monty being in a visible spot. That, the overly fearful fear, results in students having to expose their need for a mental health session — or at least some time with a dog — in public.
Monty — whose full name is General Montgomery – belongs to librarian Julian Aiken. And the pilot program got started after a Yale legal blog jokingly suggested making Monty available for checkout.
Therapy dogs have been introduced at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Oberlin College in Ohio and UC San Diego to help students get through the pressures of mid-terms and finals.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, exams, experimental, final, general montgomery, julian aiken, law school, law students, lawyers, legal, liability, librarian, library, mental health, mid term, monty, oberlin, pets, pilot, program, relief, stress, students, therapy, therapy dogs, tufts, university, yale
A police dog handler in the UK has been found guilty of animal cruelty for leaving two German shepherds to die in the back of his car on one of the hottest days of last year.
Mark Johnson, of the Nottinghamshire police, was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine. The judge called it “an extremely difficult case” which reflected poorly on the force’s attitude to officers with mental health problems.
Prosecutors said the animals – Jay-Jay and Jet – died in “excruciating pain” after Johnson forgot he had not taken them out of his vehicle on June 30. The dogs died – possibly within 20 minutes of being left in the car– from heatstroke, The Guardian reported
Johnson, 39, said he was severely depressed and was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder when he left the dogs in the car. He said his illness had caused him to forget that the animals were still in the car as he sat down to do paperwork at Nottinghamshire police’s headquarters.
District judge Tim Devas described the dogs’ deaths as “sad and regrettable”, but criticized the police department for failing to help an officer struggling with depression.
“I feel a police officer has been let down … (T)his is a dreadful error of judgment brought about by an illness way before it happened and PC Johnson should have been given more help … I cannot believe that in the 21st century, depression and men crying is so abhorrent to an institution that nothing can be done about it,” he said.
An assistant chief constable of the Nottinghamshire police said dog handlers must now take their animals directly to kennels on arrival at work and that a system was being piloted alerting handlers to temperature changes inside vehicles.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, car, changes, deaths, depressed, dog, fine, fined, german shepherds, guilty, handler, heat, heat stroke, jay jay, jet, mark johnson, mental health, news, nottinghamshire, police, policies, policy, trial, vehicle
Scientists studying compulsive behaviors in Doberman pinschers have located a gene they believe is associated with OCD — a finding that could lead to pinpointing a genetic source of obsessive-compulsive disorder in humans.
In dogs, compulsive behavior includes tail chasing, licking their legs until they develop infections, and pacing and circling — canine versions, perhaps, of repeated hand washing and other behaviors displayed by the 2.2 million Americans estimated to be affected by the disorder.
The Doberman study was done by researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, and the Broad Institute, according to the Boston Globe.
Scientists took samples from 92 Doberman pinschers that displayed compulsive behavior. Dogs with the disorder compulsively suck their flanks or blankets. Researchers also used samples from 68 normal dogs, and did a genome-wide scan, searching for spots that varied between the two samples.
They found a genetic hot spot in dogs with the compulsive behavior — within in a gene called Cadherin 2, known to be active in the brain and in a family of genes recently implicated in autism.
Dr. Dennis Murphy, a laboratory chief in the National Institute of Mental Health, said he is working to follow the research by studying the same gene in more than 300 human patients with OCD, 400 of their relatives, and about 600 people without OCD.
“Identifying a specific gene that could be a candidate gene for a complex disorder like OCD is a gift to have,’’ Murphy said. “This might be a quick route in to a meaningful gene that just could be involved in the human disorder, as well.’’
Posted by jwoestendiek January 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, broad institute, circling, compulsive, dennis murphy, disorder, doberman pinschers, dobermans, dogs, gene, genes, genome, licking, mental health, national institute of mental health, obsessive, ocd, pacing, pets, research, science, study, tail chasing, tufts university, university of massachusetts