Therapy Dog Lily’s favorite activity is getting one-on-one attention. Today she got plenty of it, as did the other nine Bright Spot Therapy Dogs that assembled on the lawn in front of the Campus Center at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
It was a perfect day for our second Therapy Dog Stress-Relief Event on the Smith College campus. Students in the School of Social Work summer session enjoyed taking a break to relax and pet the dogs. Most commented that they were working through the crowd making sure they had a chance to meet each of the dogs in attendance. We had dogs of all breeds and sizes: a tiny Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Velvet and a Pug named Frankie, two giant Great Danes named Lilo and Tucker, and a large black and white named Newfoundland Gus; our middle-sized breeds included two Golden Retrievers named Niles and Caber, a Yellow Lab named Haas, a Border Collie named Rip, and my English Setter Lily. Many of the dogs in today’s event are veteran Campus Therapy Dogs having participated in Therapy Dog Stress-Relief Events at other area colleges.
Today’s Therapy Dog Stress-Relief Event was held from 12:00-2:00, during lunch break. Staff members, as well as students, spent much of their lunch time interacting with the dogs and talking to our volunteers. Some students expressed interest in using therapy dogs in their future work as a social workers. Others, far from home, mentioned that they missed their dogs and enjoyed spending time with ours. I overheard a group of students talking amongst themselves saying, This is the best thing this school has done!
As the event came to a close, Lexi Klupchak, the student responsible for organizing both of the Therapy Dog Stress-Relief Events on the campus, came over to tell me that the students had taken up a collection to make a donation to Bright Spot Therapy Dogs. She thanked us for coming and expressed the hope that we would be back again next year. If our dogs could talk, I know they would say: Yes, we sure WILL be back!