Therapy Dogs Bring Comfort to WSU College of Nursing During Mid-Term Week

Therapy dogs from Washington Alliance of Therapy Dogs visit WSU Spokane College of Nursing, February 16, 2024.
Therapy dogs from Washington Alliance of Therapy Dogs visit WSU Spokane College of Nursing, February 16, 2024.

As the stress of mid-term exams and testing built up at the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing, an unexpected source of comfort and joy was brought to campus in the form of therapy dogs. On February 15 and 16, 2024, students, staff, and faculty were treated to the delightful company of furry friends from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD). The event was coordinated by the College’s Spokane-based student success coach, Kelly Trowbridge.

The event aimed to provide a brief respite for individuals dealing with the pressures of mid-term testing. The presence of therapy dogs brought smiles and relaxation to the college community, fostering a positive and supportive atmosphere during a potentially stressful period.

…the calming presence of therapy dogs during exams transforms stress into smiles, reminding us that sometimes, the best comfort comes not from words, but from a wagging tail and a warm, furry hug.

Kelly Trowbridge, WSU CON Student Success Coach

ATD, an international registry of certified therapy dog teams, operates with a unique focus on the well-being and behavior of dogs, regardless of age or breed. The organization, run entirely by volunteers, provides testing, certification, registration, support, and insurance for its members who volunteer with their dogs in animal-assisted activities. With a commitment to keeping membership costs low, ATD ensures that therapy dog services remain accessible to various facilities, including hospitals, schools, and college campuses. The hands-on testing process, which involves supervised visits, ensures the suitability of both handler and dog for therapy work, contributing to the success of events like the one at WSU College of Nursing.

The WSU College of Nursing’s collaboration with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs during mid-term week exemplifies the positive impact therapy dogs can have on the well-being of individuals facing academic challenges. The event not only offered a break from the demands of testing but also highlighted the power of the human-animal bond in promoting mental health and resilience within the academic community.