This article was originally published on PennImpact2020. It can be viewed here in its original form.
For the second semester in a row, the Penn Libraries threw students a bone during reading days and finals. Dog Days at the Penn Libraries brought a bevy of four-legged friends to campus to play and interact with the Penn community during one of the semester’s most stressful times.
The canine companionship is made possible through a partnership with Therapy Dogs International, a non-profit organization that has a corps of volunteer therapy dogs who provide comfort, promote healing, and improve the quality of life for those in nursing homes, hospitals and any institution where people could use a little extra love and joy. Numerous studies have proven the power of pup-petting to reduce stress and anxiety, relieve loneliness, and increase the production of oxytocin and other “feel-good” hormones.
“Dog Days is just one of the many unique ways the Penn Libraries strives to celebrate and honor our students,” says Kimberly Eke, Director of Teaching, Research and Learning Services at Penn Libraries. “Academics are important, but it’s also important for students to take a break, pet some dogs, and spend some time with their friends before they go back to hit the books.”
Snacks and drinks were provided by the Penn Libraries during the event, and staff members from Student Health Services were on hand to offer tips to help students de-stress. Students also had the opportunity to post an encouraging message for their peers on the wall of the room, which was covered with colorful post-its proclaiming, “you got this!” and “you are more than a grade.”
The Penn Libraries hopes to continue offering Dog Days programming in the future.