October 24, 2013
Midterm at Cornish: exams, crits & DOGS
: Senior visual art student Alicia Hatfield gets a face full of therapy, courtesy of Marley, as Tim Miranda and Maggie Allen look on. Photo by © Stefanie Felix.
: Therapy expert Rorie gets a rub down from senior Sierra Kohler. Photo by © Stefanie Felix.
: Pickles surrounded by admirers. Photo by Heather Beach.
: Freshmen Kaela Phillips falls hard for Marley. Photo by © Stefanie Felix.
: Gabrielle Griffeth and Adam Canne go all gooey for Marley as Melissa Jones looks on. Photo by © Stefanie Felix.
: Canine celebrity Rorie looking good. Photo by Heather Beach.
College Dogs offers unique solution for Cornish students’ midterm stress: cute pups to pet.
Students work hard at Cornish College of the Arts. When midterm rolls around, the stress really kicks in. The artists studying theater, design, visual arts performance production, dance and music drive themselves toward perfection all the time, but the middle of the academic term is the first real official reckoning. It’s a time of exams, critiques and reviews. When so much is demanded by so many, it’s got to be a great relief to find a pal who just plain likes you and doesn’t give a hoot how your grades are coming along. On Thursday October 24, students found pals like that: therapy dogs. Two hundred ten students — nearly a quarter of the student body — made their way to the Cornish board room to go to the dogs.
Lore Hardman runs this unique program called College Dogs that brings sweet, calming pooches into high stress environments like Cornish’s midterm. There’s nothing difficult to understand about how this process works. There’s no complicated format, papers to sign or language to understand. It goes like this: take a few dogs and stick them in a room with stressed-out people. Suddenly the world is just a better place.
Even before entering the board room and the event, the sound of “ahhhs!” and cooing and laughter could be heard. Entering, each of the stars of the event were seen to have attracted a ring of followers. There were Pickles, a lovely pure bred water dog, Rorie, a sweet old golden retriever, and Marley, a … well, one can’t be sure, but he was great. All three came with their pals, Pickles with Lore, Marley with Jessica (who works for SPU) and Rorie with Elise Holt. The three therapy experts were very different breeds, but had one thing in common: they seemed to enjoy being petted up by great numbers of admirers.
The event was organized by Student Life’s Heather Beach. She collected comments from the participants, and, as anyone could imagine, there were no negative reviews. “It is really helpful and makes me feel so much better afterwards,” wrote one student, “It is ridiculous how great this is!I” Another wrote, “This was super fun + stress reducing. Awesome event.” There was a call for puppies among the respondents, and a few brave souls requested cats be included (obviously not cat owners). Of 61 total surveys, 48 strongly agreed and 10 agreed that their level of stress was reduced, and 100% would visit the pooches again if given the opportunity …
… which apparently they will. The plan is for College Dogs will be returning to sooth students at other stressful times during the year.
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