Furry friends visit students in Farnham


Eleni Georgakopoulos – Special to the Southern News 

Dogs are commonly called ‘man’s best friend.’ On April 14, two Labradors were students’ best friends in the Farnham Hall Activity Room for ‘Pet Therapy.’

Elaine Martin, a nursing professor at Southern Connecticut State University, brought the two Labradors to allow students to relax during this stressful time of the semester.

pet therapy-1Stated on their website, Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing to ensure quality partnerships. Both of the labs are from that organization and have been trained since they were puppies for this job.  Martin told students that the dogs are also trained to be non-aggressive.

“If someone was to attack me they wouldn’t fight them,” said Martin.

Martin to the students in attendance,

“Therapy dogs decrease stress, blood pressure and relaxes you if you like dogs.”

Desiree Rondeau, a freshman public health major at SCSU, was excited to attend and was at the event for two reasons,

“I get extra credit for my health and wellness class and also dogs, petting dogs,” she said.

The dogs loved all the attention they were being given, as much as the students loved giving them the attention. Both pups were constantly wagging their tails and moving around trying to get as much love as possible as well as give their kisses to the students.

pet therapy-3Kathryn Keene, a freshman studio art major at SCSU, was looking forward to this event.

“I’m stressed out about school and seeing these puppies help me relax,” said Keene.

Kearney is a black lab, hearing service dog. Kearney knows 40 commands to help and assist the hearing impaired. Addie is a yellow lab trained therapy dog, but she has recently retired because they found she has a shallow hip, but she knows 30 commands. Service dogs have to be in good health in order to work, Martin told students.

“Kearney is on a strict diet to be the desired weight of the organization,” Martin said. “Whatever treats he eats now have to be taken out of his dinner portion.”

Pet Therapy was one of the ten events that the School of Health and Human Services put together for their Week of Wellness across campus. Palmer Whithead, a junior at SCSU, said that seeing the dogs made him miss his two Bassett Hounds, Gracie and Zeekie who are back in Indiana with his family.

“Playing with the labs made me wish I was back home with my own pups,” said Whitehead.

Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas

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