This year’s Anti-Stress Week came to a close with one of the most popular annual activities on the school calendar: therapy dogs.
Paws & Relax, co-hosted on Dec. 16 by the Bankier Library and Student Life and Activities, allowed students a brief distraction from their final exams with a visit by six registered therapy dogs. The event, part of Brookdale’s annual Anti-Stress Week, was a welcome respite for the dozens of students who attended.
“I had one final yesterday and I have one more tomorrow,” said first-year student Brandon Callazo. “So this is definitely a nice little break. Who doesn’t love playing with dogs?”
The visitors – two Labradors, a terrier, a bulldog, a corgi and a doberman – are all registered members of Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, a nonprofit organization that works with schools, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes and other organizations throughout New Jersey.
The naturally calm, cheerful dogs were more than happy to be petted and played with, even giving out a few hugs throughout the afternoon. According to Bright and Beautiful volunteer handler Ilene Rutan, the dogs seem to love Anti-Stress Week as much as Brookdale’s students do.
“It’s a win-win,” said Rutan, a retired Brookdale professor. “Petting a therapy dog really does help to relieve stress, and the dogs just love it. Especially at this time of year, it’s wonderful to be able to visit the campus and help everyone unwind a little bit.
“Look at this face,” she added, petting Misty, the chocolate Lab. “What’s not to love?”
Check out more photos of the event here.