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Library Goes to the Dogs to Provide Relief

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UNH Canine Study Buddies, Doris Irwin and Tango with Kelsey Gardner and Kelcey Lamphere. Photo: Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services
Study Buddy Mia, courtesy photo.

The Dimond Library brought in the dogs this week to help students relieve stress during finals. Part of its “Frenzy-Free Finals” series, “study buddy” dogs and their trainers visited the library to offer a calming distraction from cramming for exams.

The dogs are from ElderPet, an organization launched at UNH’s Thompson School of Applied Science in 1982 to connect pets with senior citizens and people with disabilities.

The folks at Healthy UNH came up with the idea of using the dogs to help students relief stress in 2010.

“Last year, students would come in specifically to see the dogs,” says Tracey Lauder, assistant dean for library administration. “They’d come up to the desk and say, ‘Are the dogs here yet?’”

The study buddies were allowed anywhere in the library except the reading rooms, staff areas, and in Special Collections. They found a spot on the floor and students settled down around them.

Study Buddy Izzy, courtesy photo.

“They use them as a break from studying. They get right down on the floor with them and it makes them forget about things for a few minutes. And the dogs are great with the students,” she says.

Lauder adds the dogs will continue to visit the library during the next semester on a to-be-determined schedule.

ElderPet has 11 trained volunteers who visited the library during the two days. ElderPet is an affiliate of the Delta Society, a national organization responsible for Pet Partners program.

Frenzy-Free Finals is sponsored by Healthy UNH, Dimond Library, Dining Services, the Parents Association, the Alumni Association, Health Services, and ElderPet.