SGA brings therapy dogs to campus as finals approach

Vanessa Blasi, Executive Producer: Newscast

As the week of finals were approaching, Quinnipiac University’s Student Government Association (SGA) brought therapy dogs onto campus for the first time this semester.

SGA’s Veteran Senator Stavros Hatzikostas began this initiative in the middle of November and arranged an event where students can come by, spend time with the therapy dogs and eat doughnuts to relax themselves. Hatzikostas says he is glad to have these dogs just in time for finals week.

“I know that students are, I would say, a little stressed out with finals coming and I know that this is going to be a time for students to really take the edge off. Go hang out with dogs, have some hot chocolate and donuts,” Hatzikostas said. “And I think, knowing that students will feel a little more at ease, that makes me feel better, knowing that I’m doing something for someone else.”

SGA partnered with the Heart of Gold Canine, a dog training service in Connecticut to bring these dogs onto campus for students. Octayvia Rickard, the owner, head trainer and therapy dog evaluator for Heart of Gold Canine, says research shows that therapy dogs have a positive effect on emotional well being.

One of the therapy dogs.

“Stress is one of those things that dogs can pick up on,” Rickard said. “Studies actually show that 60 seconds after petting a dog your heart actually returns to baseline levels.”

The therapy dogs will be on Mount Carmel and North Haven campuses for the day. Many students like second-year nursing major, Isabella Ulrich are happy to have furry friends on campus that remind her of home.

“I’m so excited to have these dogs here on campus with me just because I miss home so much and my pet at home,” Ulrich said. “It’s really great to have these dogs to kinda hang around with and destress at a time when finals are coming up and it’s a very stressful week.”

Hatzikostas hopes these dogs will help students unwind.

“I think with the therapy dogs, I definitely just want to give students the opportunity to really just reflect and realize that everything will be okay and you know what better way than building a new connection, a therapeutic connection, with a happy animal,” Hatzikostas said.

Although this is not the first time students have seen therapy dogs on campus, Hatzikostas believes this event was special because it “brought a lot of students together” and created a lot of smiles on student’s faces.