Studying Getting You Down? Therapy Dogs to the Rescue!

It’s that time again! Students are deep into their semester in schools and universities all over the country. This includes college freshmen, some who are away from home for the very first time – and dealing with demanding studies and exams without the familiar support of home.  As you can imagine, this transition can be extremely hard.

So, when the vice president of Beta Theta Pi contacted us about bringing a group of therapy dogs to help with a promotion their fraternity was putting on for the students at Creighton University, we jumped at the opportunity.

They were using this event not only to help Creighton students by giving them a fun, furry break from studies, but to raise funds to support a charity very close to their hearts, Completely Kids. Completely Kids is a children’s tutoring organization that is run through the public education system in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. It is well known for its top notch after school programs where kids in need are given a nice place to eat and learn, all in a safe environment.

Beta Theta Pi raised funds by selling bags of snacks to the Creighton students, while the students enjoyed the company of several therapy dogs (including Bo, of course!) The tasty snack combination they sold is locally referred to as ‘puppy chow’ – but don’t worry, it’s not related to the actual dog food! It is made with chocolate, though, so the dogs weren’t able to partake, even though the name sounds like a dog treat. Some of the dogs did their best to try to convince the students to let them try it, though – but these Creighton students were pretty sharp, so to my knowledge, no one was fooled!

We had therapy dogs and their handlers there for the entire three-hour event.  We’ve also had the chance in the past to bring the dogs to spend time with the kids in the after school program. Each time, it seems, everyone made a new friend.

The members of Beta Theta Pi were wonderful hosts. In addition to their heart for the kids their event was helping, they also showed love for our therapy dogs. They made sure that all the dogs and handlers were comfortable throughout the event. They brought bowls of water around to the dogs to make sure they never got thirsty.

The area the event was held in was packed the entire time. We were excited to help so many wonderful people! Each dog had no less than a couple of sets of hands on them the entire time. It was a comfortable event for the dogs, too. They were able to sit or lay down on the floor, while the students got down on the floor, too, and lavished them with love and attention.

There were times when Bo would look at me with such a content look on her face, it was a joy to see. She would check to make sure I was still there, but also to make sure I was watching all the affection she was getting from the students! Bo really enjoys the chance to go on this type of visit, because it’s much different than most visits we get to go on. This was with young adults, and she could just relax and enjoy all their attention.

One student said that she was studying occupational therapy and hoped to some day be able to find a way to work with people using therapy dogs for rehabilitation. Others asked what the dogs have to go through to do therapy work. Many just asked the about dogs’ names, breeds and ages. Some didn’t have many questions, but all of them were thrilled to just sit and pet these gentle, therapeutic dogs. They were excited to meet many breeds they had never had the opportunity to meet before, but mostly they were just extremely happy to have the chance to hang out with the dogs. They miss the dogs they had to leave at home.

A tip from Jill and Bo: If you know a college student going to school anywhere in the country, please remember them as they work hard with their studies. They would enjoy a care package of homemade (or, if need be, their favorite store-bought) goodies to help them get through those long hours of studying! Don’t forget to enclose a nice picture of their pet waiting at home, or another pet they have enjoyed spending time with. It may make them miss the pet, but they will still cherish the thought.

Thank you to the members of Beta Theta Pi for inviting us to spend some fantastically fun time with the Creighton students. We look forward to coming down to campus to visit again very soon!

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