Maggie: Most the time you come to a library, it is to check out a book. But students here at Harvard’s medical library can check out something entirely different – Cooper Anderson, a therapy dog. Cooper holds regular office hours here on campus to hang out with students.
Hey, could I check out Cooper?
Librarian: The doctor is in. You can just hang out with him.
Maggie: Cooper works hard with the students, playing fetch, running around and simply chilling out.
Soelle: I can’t remember the last time I was this happy. I think Coop brought it out of me.
Maggie: Harvard Medical School brought in Cooper as a way to help their students relax. And they say it is working.
Wendy: He definitely has regulars. He definitely has a following. He gets really busy. There’s sometimes a crowd. We had to put up a sign that says, “Cooper is currently with a patron”.
Jenna: You have to get energized when you’re with him because he’s always so happy to see you. So, after I visit Cooper, I think I definitely am a little more awake and energized, and go out and get a lot more done.
Maggie: Studies suggest pets can also help lower cholesterol, improve survival rates in heart attack patients, decrease obesity and increase socialization.
Lisa: Well, I think the research really is just starting to get going. But so far, the research really suggests that there are true benefits of animals.
Maggie: Lisa Freeman is a veterinarian professor at Tufts University, and she works with her own therapy animal, Penny.
What kind of research has been done on the effects that animals have on humans?
Lisa: Certainly they have a wonderful stress relieving affect – physiologic changes and also on more psychological aspects. So, behavior, depression, stress levels, even helping children to develop empathy.
Maggie: And these benefits of pet therapy are extremely helpful for one very stressed-out group – you!
Jenna: College students in general, med students, high school students – any student. You know, it’s kind of underrated. You have a lot on your plate as a student. A dog can definitely bring you back to reality and make you feel like you have a bit of happiness.
Maggie: Cooper takes his job seriously and is here to help students work off their anxiety every Tuesday and Thursday.
So, Cooper, what’s it like to be so loved?
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
- What good are dogs in a library?
- How does the Harvard therapy dog program work?
- In how many ways and environments could a therapy dog be helpful?
- What kinds of drawbacks could there be in having a therapy dog program?