Therapy dogs offer some 'good energy' for Manchester Community College students

·2 min read

Dec. 7—With final exams looming this week, Manchester Community College students took a study break on Monday to relieve stress and enjoy a few hours with therapy dogs.

The dogs and their owners make up the Manchester-based animal assisted therapy organization called Tails of Joy, which has been doing college visits for about 12 years, founding member Laurel Rabschutz said.

"We realize that many college students are away from home for the first time ... there's a lot of stress," Rabschutz said. "We started doing (visits) with colleges and it really took off."

The all-volunteer organization uses 20 dogs for its college visiting team, Rabschutz said. On Monday, students visited with Wrigley, Oliver, and Jake, all of whom came equipped with personalized business cards that included adorable photos and provided a list of favorites.

Wrigley is a six-year-old, 140-pound Newfoundland with a long, fluffy fur coat. Wrigley wore a red bib that had "Tails of Joy" inscribed on it, and sat obediently for students as they took turns petting his neck and scratching behind his ears.

MCC freshman Paige Young said she enjoys big dogs like Wrigley because "they have such a good energy to them." She said visiting the dogs allowed her to take her mind off other responsibilities.

"It's definitely a time to relax and stop thinking about everything else for a little bit," Young said.

The two-day pet therapy event is designed to provide some light entertainment for students whose final exams begin on Wednesday. But faculty members also enjoy visiting the dogs when they are on campus.

Sara Berry, who is an adjunct professor, joked that attending pet therapy gives her a break from grading. Berry said she always encourages her students to come and enjoys seeing them interact with the animals.

Austin Mirmina is the Journal Inquirer's business reporter and also covers the town of Windsor.

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