March 11th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Law library offers dog for check-out

Soon Yale Law School students studying at their library may be able to check out a dog in addition to books on Constitutional law.

In an email sent to students Thursday, librarian Blair Kauffman announced that the law library will run a three-day pilot program in which students can “check out” the certified library therapy dog — Monty — for thirty minute periods. He wrote that he hopes the program, which will begin March 28, will reduce student stress.

“We hope that making a therapy dog available to our students will prove to be a positive addition to current services offered by the library,” he said in the e-mail. “It is well documented that visits from therapy dogs have resulted in increased happiness, calmness, and overall emotional well-being.”

Kauffman added that although Monty is hypoallergenic, visits will be confined to a “dedicated non-public space in the library” to alleviate concerns other library users may have about dogs. Additional information regarding the program will be available with a sign-up sheet that will be released March 21.

If students respond well to the program, the library may institute it permanently during stressful periods of the semester. Law School Director of Public Affairs Janet Conroy said that no more information is currently available about the future of the program.

Two students interviewed said the therapy dog pilot program exemplifies the creativity and originality of Yale Law.

“I think it’s a really fun idea and I’m sure that a lot of people will take advantage,” Stephanie Turner LAW ’12 said. “I definitely hope that they extend the program beyond the pilot period.”

According to Therapy Dogs International, a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating and testing therapy dogs, studies have indicated that visits with therapy dogs help decrease blood pressure and stress levels, while providing a nice break from daily routine.

Aside from providing comfort to students, therapy dogs are most often used in hospitals, retirement homes, and nursing homes.