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Therapy dogs entertain students one wag at a time

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Therapy dogs entertain students one wag at a time

Therapy dog Pepper patiently waits for more students to pet her.

Therapy dog Pepper patiently waits for more students to pet her.

Talia Schreiber

Therapy dog Pepper patiently waits for more students to pet her.

Talia Schreiber

Talia Schreiber

Therapy dog Pepper patiently waits for more students to pet her.

Talia Schreiber, Staff Writer

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With final exams looming, lunchtime on Dec. 7 was a great opportunity to help students relax and destress.

Four therapy dogs from the Pet Assisted Therapy Program convened in the Carlmont quad for students to interact with. With finals just around the corner, the goal of the event was to provide students with friendly companionship and to help them diminish anxiety.

“Dogs in the Quad is an event that ASB’s Human Relations Commission puts on every year to help calm students’ nerves before finals,” Carolyn Wang, a commissioner and sophomore, said. “It’s a really big Carlmont tradition and it’s also a great chance for students to connect with animals and learn more about volunteer opportunities.”

At the end of third period, students rushed to the quad to meet the dogs.

Thomas Rudolph, the owner of the therapy dog Simba, has been volunteering at these kinds of events for the last year and a half.

Once a week, Rudolph and Simba go to Mills-Peninsula Medical Center where they visit patients ranging from toddlers to senior citizens.

“I got into these programs because I realized I had the kind of dog that would be good at it. You can’t teach a dog to be friendly and mellow, this is just the way Simba is. So I thought he would be perfect for this kind of thing,” Rudolph said.

Pepper, another one of the therapy dogs, sat calmly with students and gave them multiple wet kisses.

Pepper and her owner Kristi Goth have attended Dogs in the Quad for the past three years.

“I absolutely love coming to Carlmont, and seeing the kids happy, makes me happy. Pepper loves love and she loves to give love, so it’s a win-win for everyone,” Goth said.

The role of a therapy dog is to respond and react to people and their environment, ultimately providing a sense of comfort for them.

Simply petting or even being in the presence of one can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart diseases, according to CRC Health.

Not only this, but interactions with therapy dogs can reduce student stress and anxiety. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, therapy dogs can increase attachment responses that trigger the hormone oxytocin, the “love” hormone.

“When the kids see them, their eyes light up. They love the dogs, and the dogs love them, so that is why I feel like Dogs in the Quad is just a great thing to do for the students before finals roll around,” said Marivic Dizon, the coordinator for the Pet Assisted Therapy Program.

This event appealed to many audiences and brought more people under the diverse student population together. The widespread love for dogs attracted students who would not have normally partaken in school activities.

“I think this is such an amazing thing to do because there is so much engagement and positivity,” Wang said. “You see a lot of students in the quad petting the dogs, it’s not just the people who typically participate in ASB events like football games.”

Anna Hjartoy, a senior, found that the event gave her a moment of peace away from the classroom.

“I feel so much better. Seeing and playing with the dogs put me in the moment and made me forget my worries. It provided me with the distraction that I needed to feel relaxed,” Hjartoy said.

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About the Contributor
Talia Schreiber, Staff Writer

Talia Schreiber is a sophomore at Carlmont High and is a staff writer for Scot Scoop. In addition to writing, she enjoys kickboxing, cheerleading, and...

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Therapy dogs entertain students one wag at a time