Lunch-Time Therapy: A Dog-Gone Good Time

Lauren Gilmore
Lauren Gilmore (`13) with a canine who knows how to pose.

The dogs were doing what they do best during a recent lunch hour at the University of New Mexico School of Law: charming students, faculty and staff by being themselves at the school’s first PAWS to Relax event. Nine therapy dogs from Southwest Canine Companions, ranging from small mutt to large mutt, allowed themselves to be stroked, hugged and kissed. In addition to enjoying the attention, the dogs provided the law school community much-appreciated relief from the rigors of law school.

“I just wanted to say thank you for bringing the therapy dogs to the law school today! They were wonderful, and a real bright spot as I've been working on this appellate brief,” wrote one law student to Bonnie Stepleton (`87) assistant dean for student services. Another student commented, “I loved having the dogs to pet today! It helped me de-stress, and all the owners were so nice and it was great talking with them.”

Freeman Faust
Freeman Faust (`14) finds a new friend.

Student Services organized the PAWS to Relax event. “Law schools and undergraduate schools across the country are trying this out as away to help students manage the stress of school,” said Stepleton. “Studies have shown that petting a dog for just five minutes reduced blood pressure and increases levels of serotonin.

“Everybody loved this event and we plan to invite the dogs back in the fall,” she said.

April 5, 2012