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Issue Date: February 2007

Puppy Love

Life can be stressful for college freshmen. Between learning how to do laundry and cramming for exams, the first year away from home can be a tough one. Kathleen Adamle, an assistant professor at Kent State University’s College of Nursing, has come up with a unique remedy: a little quality time with man’s best friend. 

Adamle’s two golden retrievers, along with a chocolate Lab, bichon frise and pug, comprise Kent State University College of Nursing’s new “Dogs on Campus” program, which takes canines to residence halls so students can play fetch, rub bellies and just de-stress for a few hours.

Adamle, who is researching pet therapy, says the idea came to her two years ago when she noticed that students were compelled to reach out to her dogs any time she would walk them on campus. “The students needed to touch my dogs,” she recalls.

College freshmen go through short periods of high stress during their first year, Adamle explains, and visiting with a few playful pals can help alleviate it. She had two sessions a week scheduled prior to finals in December and saw more than 1,200 students last year. She’s currently planning more for the spring semester. The Delta Society, a national certification group for pet-therapy programs, certifies the dogs, but what they do best comes naturally. “Dogs can sense when something is amiss,” Adamle says. “That human-animal bond is nonverbal.”

And sometimes all it takes is a wagging tail to turn your day around.— Jennifer Tolhurst

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