Sign In

Therapy dog helps students cope with stress

March 31, 2020

A study from the National College Health Assessment shows less than 2 percent of undergrads said they had no stress in the last year.

Leaders at Kirkwood Community College hope a new furry friend can help students cope.

The school has a certified therapy dog, named ‘Shade’. He officially became certified over the summer.

One-and-a-half-year-old Shade is Dr. Alissa King’s personal pet He hangs out in her classroom while she teaches and follows her around throughout the day.

Students can come up to pet Shade and sit by him in class when they are feeling stressed out. King has had Shade since he was a 9-week-old puppy. She decided to start training him because she saw a need for a therapy dog at Kirkwood.

“I also was seeing a spike in students that had test anxiety and just anxiety in general, students diagnosed with PTSD, depression, all kinds of mental health things,” she said. “So I started doing research about therapy dogs, and animals, in general, are really helpful for a lot of people.”

Students say they have noticed a morale boost with Shade around.

“It just makes you feel more relaxed just to have him in your presence, he’s just really calm,” said student Alyssa Miller. “If I’m feeling anxious it helps because he just has a calm presence you can tell. He’s just a chill guy.”

King said some people want to take her classes because of Shade. Her plan is to get another Great Dane trained as a therapy dog by the spring. That will let Shade take some days off.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Oscar The Blind Dog

    In the weeks leading up to a heated presidential election, another close race played out that had dog lovers across the country faithfully voting online every 24 hours for their favorite furry friends. For four weeks, from Sept. 10 to Oct. 9, nearly 1 million votes were cast in Garden & Gun magazine’s Good Dog […]

    Read more

    Genius Dog Challenge

    Six dogs are competing to become the world’s smartest dog – a title reserved for the pooch that learns words the fastest. Shany Dror is a driving force behind the Genius Dog Challenge, which is live streamed on Facebook and YouTube every week until December 16, when the winner will be announced. The canine challenge […]

    Read more

    Finding Homes For Dogs

    Adoptable Animal Rescue Force gives back to the community by finding the right homes for dogs. We’ve been a Teller County nonprofit, no-kill rescue since 1999. Social networking has allowed us to expand our services in recent years to include dogs coming in from high kill shelters in New Mexico and Texas. There are times […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Retiring

    Talking to police or giving testimony at a courthouse, can be a scary experience for many. Since 2014, service dogs have been allowed in the courtroom to provide emotional support for those in need. For Emery Baert, having Madison with her made a huge difference. “If she wasn’t there, to this day, I wouldn’t know […]

    Read more

    A Shelter Dog's Life

    The sound of paws and claws precedes Isabella’s entrance. She bursts out of the Worcester Animal Rescue League’s front door, dragging Sara McClure, WARL’s dog program coordinator, behind her. McClure has two hands on Izzy’s bright red leash as the pit bull mix comes barreling into the parking lot. McClure motions for me to take […]

    Read more

    Veterans Court Therapy Dog

    Howard County Superior Court II Judge Brant Parry stood in his courtroom last week and looked around like he had lost something. “You want to see her?” he asked, still looking around the mostly empty room. A few moments later, a brown fluff of fur came bounding through an open back door, prompting instant smiles […]

    Read more