Service dogs-in-training visited Georgetown University Law Center Wednesday to practice being around people and to help ease the stress of exams for exhausted law students.
WASHINGTON – When exam time rolls around, student stress spikes. To help relieve the pre-exam jitters, many college campuses have had visits from shelter dogs and puppies.
At the Georgetown University Law Center, there’s a slightly different approach. Service dogs-in-training from a variety of organizations pay a visit, and practice moving among crowds and being handled.
Tianda Harris, a third-year law student at Georgetown, came up with the idea and dubbed it “Pause for Paws.”
Judging from the number of students lining up to pet a puppy or snuggle with an older dog Wednesday, the visit was a hit. Student Kristen Wilson says the visit was just what she needed. “It’s definitely a happy moment. There is no stress.”
Harris says while the visits help law students facing high stakes exams relax a bit, “it also helps the dogs do their training. Like the guide dog we have here, it’s just amazing.” She was referring to Lisette, a young German shepherd being trained for Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
The students loved the adult dogs. But Munro, a 10-week-old golden retriever in training with Veterans Moving Forward, was clearly stealing a lot of hearts as well as easing nerves. As soon as students entered the room where Munro was playing with a chew toy, there were choruses of “Awwwwww” from the clusters of future lawyers.
Brittany Cohan from Connecticut said she was tempted to pop the puppy in a backpack and take him home. “I love puppies! So it’s nice to take a quick break and play with a dog.”
Fidos for Freedom, Veterans Moving Forward, Warrior Canine Connection and Guiding Eyes for the Blind all brought dogs to the campus for the event.