Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Therapy dogs give students a rest


April 3, 2014

By Kristie Weiss


With the stress of everyday responsibilities leading up to finals, everyone could use a little break.  Myrna McCallister, library director, and Rebecca Jones, library public relations and events coordinator, worked together to find a way to relieve some of that stress by having therapy dogs visit students at Andersen Library, which they call pet therapy.

Beginning with three dogs last semester, the program has grown to include eight dogs. Most of the dogs come from UW-Whitewater faculty members and Bark River Therapy Dogs.

The people who have volunteered to share their dogs with the student body are Kristine Yesbeck, Jeanine Rowe, Carol Terracina-Hartman, Joan Schwegel and Jim Perry.

Bark River Therapy Dogs, located outside of Whitewater in Dousman, looks to build relationships with caring individuals who are willing to share their dogs with people young and old.  This includes providing visits to places such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

They also provide classes for dogs as well, such as obedience and agility training.  Along with classes, Bark River holds events for owners and their dogs to attend.

Julie Lentz-Andrus runs these programs through Western Waukesha County Dog Training Club in Ixonia.  She also is part of Therapy Dogs Incorporated and takes her therapy dogs to places around Oconomowoc, Wis.

The dogs range in size. The smallest include two whippets, Angel and Windy, and the largest include two Italian Greyhounds, Chip and Marco and Newfoundland Sadie.

Perry, who is a part of Bark River Therapy Dogs, brings in his two whippets and greyhounds regularly.  Others dogs in the program are English Mastiff, Peaches; Terrier mix, Spice and Middie the Black Lab who has been coming for the past two years.

McCallister said they like to bring in dogs of all sizes because not everyone likes the same type of dog, and they want to make sure that they meet all the students’ needs.

“People bond over a dog; it brings generations together,” McCallister said.

Health and behavior records are taken before the dogs are allowed around students.

“They are obedient dogs, and the owners love to share the stories behind each of them,” McCallister said.

Attracting huge crowds in the past, the dogs are placed in front of the circulation desk, so students immediately see that they are there.

These therapy dogs provide the students a piece of home while making that final stretch of the semester look a little bit brighter.

“Bringing in the service dogs helps students to get through missing their own pet back home,” McCallister said.

Jones hopes to bring the dogs in every day the week before and during finals. The dogs are visiting Andersen Library every other Monday from noon to 2 p.m.. They will visit next on April 7.

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Founded 1901
Therapy dogs give students a rest