BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (From FAU) — Hundreds of Florida Atlantic University students, stressed after a grueling semester and facing final exams, recently hung out with a therapy dog on the floor of the Wimberly Library, where they petted, cuddled, took selfies and even played a game of catch with the 71-pound golden retriever.
Kol, the award-winning canine, and his owner, Jane Eisenberg, are volunteers with Therapy Dogs International (TDI). For the past three years, Kol has comforted Hospice patients and their families, but this was his first visit to a university campus. He’s good at sniffing out stress, so he seemed to enjoy being surrounded all the loving and attention from the frazzled students on FAU’s Boca Raton campus as much as they enjoyed him.
“This is the best idea anyone has come up with,” said Kim O’Neill, a freshman who sat with Kol for more than an hour before going to study for her French exam. “You come into the library and you find a dog. It makes your entire week.”
Sophomore Christian Marroquin came to the library because she needed motivation to write a paper after an exam. “I was really stressed out,” she said. “I saw Kol, went over to pet him and decided to stay. It was the most relaxing thing ever. I didn’t think it would be, but it was very calming. I feel so relaxed and fully energized.”
Nicholas Santos, another sophomore, owns three dogs, but does not get to spend as much time with them as he would like. He came with his skate board, sat in front of Kol for a few minutes, took a selfie and later used a stuffed monkey to engage Kol in a game of catch.
Rita Pellen, interim dean of Libraries at FAU, was delighted to see how much the students enjoyed and benefited from Kol’s visit.
“Studies have shown that therapy pets can help to reduce stress and anxiety and a growing number of universities are having success with golden retrievers during final exams,” said Pellen. “Kol’s visit to FAU put a different face on the academic library and showed our students that we care about what they are experiencing.”