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Therapy Dogs in the Libraries

Therapy Dogs in the Libraries

Why we invite dogs to the library:

  • Help relieve stress and anxiety during the semester.
  • Create a welcoming and inclusive space in the libraries.
  • To give students a way to connect to animals, especially if they are missing their pets at home.
  • By having more therapy animals on campus, this could potentially reduce the number of individual requests for support animals campus-wide.

When we invite dogs to the library:

  • Finals week.
  • Mid-term breaks.
  • Days and evenings depending on need or time of the semester. 
  • Other special events and programming like Waldo Fest.
  •  Sunny visiting Waldo during Finals Week

Sunny visiting Waldo during Finals Week


Finding and scheduling therapy dogs:

  • We first identified our regulars through a local Facebook group organized by Dr. Moe. We now have a core group of 5-7 dog/handler teams who volunteer in the library. However, we do welcome new teams!
  • They are volunteers and not reimbursed. Some are provided with parking passes. 
  • Walk them through the space to help dog acclimate to library. 
  • Put them in a public, loud area that is highly visible with a lot of traffic.  We set them up on the first floor off of the main entrance. 
  • Advertise in and outside of the library. 
  • For larger events we have scheduled up to four dogs simultaneously.
  • For longer events, we schedule dogs in 2 hour blocks during the event. 
  • Review ground rules: Do not disturb students at computers or in quiet areas because they may be testing. Reiterate University Libraries values of welcoming and inclusive environment. 
  • Chloe visiting Waldo during mid-term art breaks.

 Chloe visiting Waldo during mid-term art breaks. 


Institutional logistics

  • We require approval from the Vice-President of Student Affairs for all therapy dog visits. We were able to receive a blanket approval for all therapy dog visits.
  • Certified therapy dogs only allowed. 
  • Request certification documentation from the handler. In our case, most dogs are certified through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Certification is also proof of insurance.
  • Keep copy of certification with Library Office Manager.
  • Arthur visiting during mid-terms Art Break



Who we partner with:

  • Dr. Angie Moe, Therapy Dog Clinic Coordinator and Professor of Sociology. 
  • We identify therapy dogs through a local Facebook group run by Dr. Moe. 
  • We also participate in therapy dog training and serve as a site visit. 
  • Therapy Dogs in Training Visiting Waldo

Image to the right Therapy Dogs in Training Visiting Waldo


What to ask the handler:

  • What are the dog's needs?
  • What is their max time for an event?
  • Do they need scheduled breaks and where would an ideal location be?
  • Can they handle a high capacity of students (we average 60-80 individual visitors in a 2-hour time frame, and have had up to 100; there are often 5-10 visitors at any one time)?
  • Will they do well with another therapy dog nearby or should they be scheduled alone?
  • Q visiting Waldo During Art Break