Put your paws up: It's time for Woodruff Library's study break with the dogs

Published 11-27-2017

by Ramsey Baden

Stressed-out students are all smiles when they spend time with the dogs at the Woodruff Library's Pet Therapy Study Break, set for Thursday, Dec. 7 this year. Image: Emory Libraries.

Daylight is shortening, and a cold wind is carrying the last traces of sunny warmth away. Emory’s trees are shedding their green coats, donning the brilliant scarlet and gold of a Georgia fall. Students, on the other hand, are bracing themselves for something far more chilling – Emory’s final exam season.

Thankfully, there is help on the way. Emory Libraries is bringing back its Pet Therapy Study Break, which will take place on Dec. 7, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Jones Room at the Robert W. Woodruff Library. By signing up ahead of time, students will have the opportunity to escape the stress by spending a few minutes with one of three dogs (a fourth dog will be available for walk-ins).

Sign up here: http://emorylib.info/pups17

These friendly, furry heroes bringing the stress relief come from Canine Assistants and Pet Partners, two organizations that train therapy dogs. In addition, Emory Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is introducing their newest canine employee – Finn, who has joined Beowulf as one of CAPS’ therapy dogs, will visit the study break session. The two Native American Indian dogs, a breed with hair (instead of fur) that can be more easily tolerated by people with allergies, are available through CAPS to help Emory students fight off stress and anxiety throughout the year.
This pup mugs for the camera, making his group of students laugh and relax during a break from their studies. Image: Emory Libraries.

Woodruff Library’s Outreach and Education team has organized the study break since its beginning. “It’s wonderful to see the students’ reactions,” says librarian Erin Mooney, who leads the team. “They check in, looking a little worn-out from the stress of the semester and exams. Then they go in and start petting on the dogs, and right away you can see them transform – they calm down and the smiles come out.”

This pup study break, which marks its sixth year in the Woodruff Library, is one of Emory’s most popular and memorable events. The dogs consistently charm and rejuvenate students. Megan Jiang, a junior majoring in biology and classics, went to the study break last year as she struggled under the pressure of exams and extracurriculars. “I left feeling more refreshed than I had in a while,” Megan says. Kate Nowak, a senior majoring in history, echoes this sentiment. “It was really a great way to relax even with exams right around the corner, and I’ll definitely be signing up to go back and see them again this year,” she says.
Finn (pictured in back) joined Beowulf this semester as a therapy dog for Emory's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and he will visit students at the Woodruff Library's Pet Therapy Study Break on Dec. 7. Image courtesy Emory CAPS.

Since the study break is a library event, it is easily accessible for students. Sindoos Awel, a junior majoring in human health and anthropology/human biology says that the dogs were in a convenient location since most students were already in the library studying for their finals. “The dogs were playful and energetic, which was an interesting contrast compared to the students, including myself, that were drained and a little less lively,” she quips.

Pet therapy may seem like a novelty to some, but for students who have attended these study breaks, it is a much more meaningful experience. As one senior puts it, “we all get a little bit homesick and start missing our pets a lot towards the end of the semester, so it's nice to see some dogs on campus and remember how good life can be with animals in it.”

For media inquiries, contact: