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Wednesday, April 01

Brookdale Newsroom

Therapy Dogs Visit With Brookdale Student Veterans

Four furry volunteers from the Monmouth County SPCA visited the Lincroft campus on Dec. 3 to hang out with the members of the Brookdale Student Veterans Club.

The event, hosted by the club in the MAN building, offered veteran students a relaxing break from their final papers and end-of-semester study sessions by bringing them together with a team of certified therapy dogs.

On hand to help the students de-stress were Pixel, a Yorkshire terrier mix; Honey, a bull mastiff; Logan, a Labrador retriever; and Shayla Grace, an English bulldog with spina bifida who dressed up in military fatigues for the occasion.

Rich DeCola says hello to Pixel during the Dec. 3 therapy dog visit in Lincroft.

Rich DeCola says hello to Pixel during the Dec. 3 therapy dog visit in Lincroft.

The naturally calm and affectionate dogs were joined by five SPCA volunteers, each of whom expressed their appreciation for the students’ sacrifices as members of the U.S. military.

“We really can’t say how grateful we are to be able to be here with you today, and how much we appreciate your service,” said SPCA Pet Therapy coordinator Ro Smith.

“We all are either related to, married to or connected in some way with someone who has given their time and put themselves in harm’s way for us, and for our freedom to be with you here today.”

After lunch and a brief introduction, the students were able to spend some one-on-one time with each of the therapy dogs, who were more than happy to be petted and played with.

Attendees were also able to participate in a holiday gift card raffle and spend some quality time with their fellow veteran students before the end of the semester.

“I think this was a really good idea, especially at this point in the semester,” said Student Veterans Club president Rich DeCola. “Especially for students with our background, for veterans who may still be dealing with some trauma or other issues, it’s great to have an opportunity to unwind like this.

“Whether you have been out of the service for two years or 25 years, we are all on the same page,” DeCola added. “So it’s always great to come together and just relax.”

Check out more photos of the therapy dog visit here. Learn more about the Brookdale Student Veterans Club here.

All other Brookdale students will be able to get in on the therapy dog fun during college hour on Dec. 10, when a team of volunteers from Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs visits the Bankier Library.

The visit is just one of many events planned for Fall 2015 Anti-Stress Week, which runs from Dec. 7 – 12 at all Brookdale locations. Offerings include free massages, movie screenings and even a counseling workshop on the importance of stress management. View the full Anti-Stress Calendar here.

(Featured photo by Mark DeYoung, College Relations intern)