Therapy dogs return to campus after student campaign

By Justin Kozloski ’14, Editor-in-Chief

The College will once again be host to stress-relief dogs due to the efforts of a student who was dissatisfied with the removal of Bungy, the former stress-relief dog that used to roam the halls of Appel Health Services.

Liza Munk ’14 started a petition after Bungy was removed from Appel Health Services to express dissatisfaction with the administration’s decision.

“When I first found out that Bungy, the therapy dog at Appel, couldn’t continue to come to Appel every week, I started a petition online that was shared widely with F&M, and I think about 500 people signed it,” Munk said. “The initial petition was just being dissatisfied with the fact that Bungy could no longer come to F&M because she has meant a lot to a lot of different people here, and I really enjoyed just having that consistent expectation that the dog would be there.”

Once the petition drew attention of a large portion of the campus, Margaret Hazlett, dean of the College, extended an invitation to Munk to come and talk about a potential resolution to the dissatisfaction that was clearly evident. They were not willing to allow Bungy to return because the dog would have to constantly be with Dr. Amy Myers, director of student health services and college physician, who has other responsibilities in Appel that would make this arrangement impossible. But the administartion was willing to allow Munk to contact an outside organization to provide a trained stress-relief dog for students on campus.

After talking with Hazlett and reserving the space for the event in the basement of the College Center, Munk contacted Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS), which specializes in providing therapy dogs for universities, nursing homes, and similar institutions with a large number of people that can use the services.

KPETS provided a dog and a handler for the students for an hour on Friday. The dog, a seven-year-old labradoodle named Murphy, is trained specifically to provide a fun and stress-free environment. The dog never approaches a person from the front and will only approach to the side so as not to appear confrontational. He will also make rounds, ensuring that everyone that is there to see him gets an equal amount of attention. The dogs that are part of the program must undergo a series of tests to make sure they will remain calm in any environment, especially nursing homes where there are smells and sounds that the dogs are not used to.

All KPETS employees are volunteers, so there is no charge to the school or the students for the services. As such, a dog will be coming to the College Center every week, though the day will change depending on the volunteers’ schedules.

Senior Justin Kozloski is the Editor-in-Chief. His email is jkozlosk@fandm.edu.

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