Yale Law School Library has announced a three-day pilot program beginning March 28 which will enable students to check out a "certified library therapy dog." The dog's name is Monty, and he will be available for thirty-minute sessions with stressed-out students. To allay the concerns of those who aren't big fans of dogs, Monty is hypoallergenic and his "visits will be confined to a 'dedicated non-public space in the library.'" According to Therapy Dogs International, an organization quoted in the Yale Daily News feature about the program, "studies have indicated that visit with therapy dogs help decrease blood pressure and stress levels, while providing a nice break from daily routine." This might not work for everyone.
I am crazy about cats, but somewhat neutral about dogs, probably because I grew up with cats but never had a dog as a child. As an adult, I was once attacked by a Russian Wolfhound who was taller than me when he stood on his hind legs to lunge at my throat; he managed to bite my arm through several layers of heavy winter clothes. When I had surgery a few years ago and was kept overnight, a woman brought two rather boisterous therapy dogs into my room the morning after the surgery; she alleged that they would speed my healing, but all I could see was dirt and germs and I ordered her and the dogs out of my room. I treated the chaplain pretty much the same way when he tried to visit me shortly thereafter.