Pet Therapy: Where’d it Go?

By Emily Weikl

Staff Writer

It’s Week 13.

Two more weeks until final exams, and the end of the academic year.

It’s stress-time.
We need puppies.
There are many ways of alleviating stress, from yoga to meditation. One of them is includes having dogs around. Two years ago, dogs from the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge came to the Fitness Center to help students cope.

It worked.
It’s a chemical thing. “Cortisol is a hormone activated by stress, and studies have found that being around animals can decrease cortisol levels” the website DogTime said.

Fairleigh Dickinson’s Florham campus has pet therapy, and the dogs even have their own page online. Metro had the same program for about a decade, according to Dean of Students Michelle McCroy.

However, there were not dogs in the Puppy Room in the

Fitness Center during “Stress Less Week” this year. A change in management at the shelter led to the interruption of the program.

The Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refugee, a non-profit and no-kill shelter in Oakland, New Jersey, had brought 10 to 12 puppies to the university in past years. Scott Fisher, the Director of the Fitness Center, usually schedules the Puppy Room program for the last week in March or the first week in April. But not this year.

“Scott [Fisher] and I are co-chairs of the Wellness Committee,” said Alice Mills, co-director of Student Counseling and Psychological Services. “Unfortunately due to a change in leadership of the animal shelter he has utilized in the past, Scott was unable to supply puppies this year.”

Although the program has not been canceled, it’s future is uncertain.

“While I hope to continue this on a regular basis, I can’t confirm at this time that the event will happen next year,” Fisher said, “but we will certainly try.”