Soon Yale Law School students studying at their library will be able to check out a dog in addition to their textbooks.
In an email to students March 10, librarian Blair Kauffman announced that the law library will run a three-day pilot program beginning March 28 in which students can “check out” the certified library therapy dog — a brown, 21-pound border terrier mix named Monty — for 30 minutes at a time. He wrote that he hopes the program 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.”
In his e-mail, Kauffman directed students to the website of Therapy Dogs International, a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating and testing therapy dogs. On the website, the organization cites studies indicating that visits with therapy dogs help decrease blood pressure and stress levels.
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 released with a sign-up sheet March 21.
If students respond positively to the program, the library may bring it back at stressful points in the semester, such as final exam periods.
Law School Director of Public Affairs Janet Conroy said that no more information is currently available about the future of the program.
Rumors of the dog therapy program began in early September, when the popular legal blog “Above The Law” posted a law library catalog listing for Monty. Monty’s owner, access services librarian Julian Aiken, told the News Sept. 13 that circulating a dog at the Yale Law Library had only been mentioned as a joke.
Three students interviewed said the therapy dog pilot program exemplifies the creativity and originality of Yale Law School.
“I think it’s a really fun idea and I’m sure that a lot of people will take advantage [of it],” said Stephanie Turner LAW ’12. “I definitely hope that they extend the program beyond the pilot period.”
Therapy dogs are most often used in hospitals, retirement homes and nursing homes, according to Therapy Dogs International.