Dogs in the library are not a common sight, but with finals week under way and students looking for ways to reduce stress, therapy dogs are part of the answer.
Therapy dogs and their owners visited the Richland library on Dec. 6. The dogs were trained through Dallas-based Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs. The dogs and their owners are certified as therapists.
Jeanetta Burnham, instructional services librarian, said the dogs and their handlers come as a team. “They’ve been trained to understand and know what they’re supposed to do with people who are stressed out,” Burnham said. “The dogs also visit libraries, nursing homes and hospitals. They’re owned by individuals who are volunteers with the organization.”
Burnham said this was the fourth time the dogs have come to the Richland library. “Since it’s now the holiday time, the dogs will come with their holiday colors and be all decked out,” she said.
People who came to the library were able to pet and brush the dogs. Some of the dogs even do tricks to help students take their minds off the stress of studying for finals.
“It’s kind of a stress relief event for them. This only happens in May and December, she said. “There are different breeds and sizes. They send a mixture of large and small dogs. We’ve had a Great Dane and a Chihuahua come in during the same visit, but they’re all super calm. The dogs go into work mode.”
“The owners train them and get them certi- fied,” Burnham said. They’re certified through organization called Canine Good Citizen Organization.
For more information about Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs, visit www.hotthdogs.org