Therapy dogs spread joy throughout campus this week

March 9, 2023
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If you stopped by The Landing this week, you may have noticed more smiles, more traffic and more, um, barking than usual.

As part of a midterm dog-therapy program, Love on a Leash of South Central Indiana visited with six well-behaved pups, including Moses, a Great Pyrenees, and Doogie, a Rough Collie.

“Interacting with animals can lower your blood pressure and decrease the stress hormones in your body,” said Sarah Akemon, Student Services Coordinator, who organized the event. “Every time I see a dog it makes my day better, and that I’m glad we could make students’ days better!”

Students Dylan Nelis and Sarah Kincer enjoyed some time with Moses during a mid-morning break. Sarah commented that everyone who walked by seemed to gravitate toward the fluffy white dog, as if they couldn’t help but make a detour.

Over the two days, around 100 people visited the therapy dogs, says Shelley Arroyo, Office of Student Affairs Assistant Director. In fact, two professors brought their whole classes to de-stress with some puppy love on Monday, and Wednesday was busy with several tour groups.

This was the first time therapy dogs have come to campus since before the pandemic, and the Student Affairs team is already planning to have them return next month.

“I think Moses gets as much out of this as the students and staff do,” said Laura Wadsworth, his certified trainer. “He’s been in heaven today with all this attention.”

Wadsworth and Moses bring comfort to people of all ages, from children staying in domestic violence shelters to residents of memory care facilities. Moses even made an appearance at IUPUC’s baseball home opener to cheer on the Crimson Pride.