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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Law school goes to the dogs

Rebecca Rillos
Rebecca Rillos / Arizona Daily Wildcat Dogs from the Delta Society aid students relieve their stress at the College of Law Library on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.

The anticipated stress of finals week inspired law student Cindy Hirsch, to organize a pet therapy program for overwhelmed law school students. Students can play with and pet therapy dogs brought to campus.

The dogs and their owners can be visited in the Law Library at the James E. Rogers College of Law of Fellows Room 51 and are available for the remainder of the week between noon and 2 p.m.

This is the latest in a string of pet therapy programs in law schools that began this past March when a dog named Monty appeared in a law library at Yale University. Hirsch said several schools began implementing pet therapy after Monty’s success.

Law student Caroline Hoyt, has already scheduled a second visit, she heard about the program through Facebook.

“It’s nice to step away from studying and instead of looking at something else on the Internet you’re actually having live interaction,” Hoyt said.

Anne Conyard, volunteer at the Delta Society, a national non-profit organization specializing in providing pet therapy, and volunteer for the UA’s pet therapy program, works with her 3-year-old golden retriever Gus at a hospice center every Friday. For the past year Conyard and Gus have been visiting patients, families and staff.

“I think that it takes peoples’ minds off what they’re dealing with and all the business in their minds,” Conyard said.

In addition to Gus, 2-year-old golden retriever poodle mix Gidget volunteered on Monday. Gidget’s owner, Linda Grim is also a volunteer for the Delta Society. Gidget has been training for three months and completed his first job working at the law school on Monday.

Katy Grounds, assistant director of admissions and financial aid, said she heard about the program from a UA student blog where law school students can share information. Grounds said the dogs are a good distraction, especially for first-year students experiencing their first week of finals.

Conyard said her experience in hospice has shown her the positive effects of pet therapy and why dogs are the ideal candidates for the job.

“They (the dogs) are unconditional and they just love to be petted, and to be loved and to give their love,” Conyard said.

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