Pet therapy: Trained dogs help students de-stress


By: Catherine Krawiec 
Group at pet therapy
Above: Students pile into the Wroxton Room to get their fill of puppy love. All photos by Catherine Krawiec.
Student and Jerzey
Above: It was love at first sniff.
Student and cookie
Above: Cookie, the French bulldog, is sniffing out her new friend visiting.
Although they have cold noses, the pet therapy dogs that came to visit students on November 6, 2014, had the warmest hearts. Therapy dogs from Morristown’s Creature Comfort have been making monthly visits to Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus to help students de-stress and relax.   
“Pets have the ability to ground us in the moment and this can be seen with our students during pet therapy when the dogs provide joy in the moment and a break from life’s stressors and from living in a ‘plugged in society,’” commented Stephanie Koempel, acting director of counseling and psychological services.   
The dogs were brought in to bring joy, comfort and contentment to the students. It was clear that they did more than that. Certified pet therapy dogs had previously been introduced as part of stress relief events organized by Sarah Azavedo, director of student life, for midterms and finals. Koempel reintroduced the event back to the FDU community as a monthly event.
“This is a great interruption to a long day of classes,” said Melissa Orlando, who has attended all events hosted this semester. “I can take a break, de-stress and unwind, rather than get overwhelmed and stressed out.” 
The rest of the scheduled dates are as follows: For 2014 — December 5th in Lenfell Hall from 1pm - 2pm. For 2015 — February 3rd, March 5th, April 3rd, and May 4th. Locations for the 2015 events will be announced here. The human-animal bond that is being experienced at FDU is from a local organization based out of Morristown, NJ called Creature Comfort.
For more information or questions about the pet therapy program, contact Stephanie Koempel at or 973-443-8147.