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Macie the therapy dog visits Wallace Library

March 31, 2020

Ten minutes spent petting a dog can make a world of difference to a stressed-out college student—especially during finals week.

To help students relax, Wallace Library is hosting a therapy dog event from 3 to 4:30 p.m. today on the first floor. The event is part of the library’s weeklong Destress Fest and a continuation of a monthly offering that many students enjoy. “The students get excited when they hear another event is coming up,” said Sara Kuehl, manager of marketing and communications at RIT Libraries. “I think therapy dogs are becoming more common on college campuses, particularly with academic libraries.” “Wallace Library is open the most hours of any academic building on campus, and we see students spending long hours here,” Kuehl said. “Particularly as we get to finals week, you can feel the stress from the students. It’s palpable as you’re walking through the building. We created Destress Fest three years ago to help students relieve some stress without having to leave the library, encouraging them to take study breaks and practice some self-care.” Victoria Sebastian, a third-year film and animation major from the Pittsburgh area, makes a priority of visiting therapy dogs at the library. She misses her German shepherd/poodle puppy Bear and likes the chance to “chill with a dog.” She’s not the only one.

Kuehl anticipates a crowd of students to form around the therapy dogs this afternoon. Typically, 200 to 300 students attend the monthly sessions with three dogs and their handlers, she said. Kuehl first invited handlers to bring their dogs to Wallace Library about three years ago and was amazed when nearly 400 students showed up eager to pet the three dogs.

“After we saw the overwhelming reaction—we decided this was something we should definitely continue,” Kuehl said. “We’ve been hosting therapy dogs monthly for the past year and a half, and there is always a good turnout.”

“Macie is very calming, so they can take a break from what they’re doing, and laugh and smile for a while,” Sebastian said about the RIT students. “A lot of the younger kids said that it’s fun to have a dog, and when they walk in the room they know it’s going to be a good time.”

Servé and Macie will be back at Wallace Library from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 29 to provide comfort for students in need of dog time. Kuehl is happy the library can provide students a safe place to center themselves.

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