Skip to main content

Therapy Dog Pilot Program at Ruth Lilly Medical Library

an image of young woman and her Golden Retriever dog on white background

Feeling the weight of your studies?  A furball of distraction (and love) may be just what he doctor ordered!

The Ruth Lilly  Medical Library works hard to provide destressing mechanisms such as the coloring books and puzzles at the Relaxation Station.  The Nexus and Makerspace also provide places to “get away from the grind.” 

RLML has hosted therapy dogs in the past, usually around exam time, but we felt like it just wasn’t enough of a “paws” from the many pressures that students are up against.  Enter the therapy dog!  Why a therapy dog?  Glad you asked!  Benefits of pet therapy range from releasing of endorphins that induce a calming effect, temporarily lowering blood pressure, and help stimulate memory as well as problem-solving skills.

A therapy dog is much more than just a pet.  He must possess a calm temperament and be ready to engage with all people.  He also must be able to maintain composure around other animals and be ready to listen to his handler at all times.  Specialized training outside of basic obedience is required as well as extensive testing for both handler and dog.  Additionally, annual recertification is required for the dog/handler team through an accrediting therapy dog agency.  Ongoing preparations prior to each visit include remaining current on vaccinations, heartworm/flea preventive, and grooming within 24 hours prior to each visit. 

We are excited that Sandy Nogle, RLML Administrative Support Specialist, will oversee the therapy dog program with the help of her 2 golden retrievers, Bella and Mabel.  The first date that a therapy dog will visit is Monday, June 21 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm in the lobby of RLML.  Subsequent dates are July 19th and August 16th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm also in the RLML lobby.  Hand sanitizer will be available and we ask that everyone wear a mask (except the dog, of course!). 

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Default Author Avatar IUSM Logo

Safar Saydshoev