November 26, 2018

See SPOT, Run See SPOT: Therapy Dogs and You

By Robert Musser, Ph.D.

picture of a dob yawning“See Spot run.  Run Spot run.”  I learned to read with Spot and his family: Dick and Jane and Sally and kitty cat Puff.  The cute cocker spaniel Spot was the star as far as I am concerned.  Later I delighted in Go Dog Go.  The dogs wore hats, worked at jobs, conversed with each other and at the end of the week they raced off in their cars and on scooters, urged on by the narrator, “Go dogs, go!”  Momentarily paused at the traffic light, they sped on again, parked, ran, up the big tree they went.  Finally, they reached their spot, a big dog party in the sky atop that tree.  Fanciful, I know, but what fun.  Later still, I read my two boys the stories of Clifford the big red dog.  He was easy to spot when he grew from the runt of the litter to 25 feet in height give or take (he varied somewhat from story to story).

We have our own pack to entertain us now: Bubba the aging poodle mix as non-alpha as a dog can be; Chris-O our son’s escape artist dog burrowing under or leaping over our backyard privacy fence; Maddie so named by the workers at the Pound because she resembles Eddie from the “Frazier” TV show—as a Jack Russell she owns everything in sight and expects servile compliance from the other dogs; Angel and Remington (“Remmie”), our two newest.  Rescue dogs all, we spotted them along the way, and they are rescuing us too, it seems.

Now it’s your turn.  When you are dog-tired the next several weeks, take advantage of the visits from the SPOT therapy dogs.  These dogs and their attached humans will be visiting several times as the semester winds down.  A number of studies indicate the healthful benefits of interaction with these dogs.  Stress reduction along with increased energy and happiness are the benefits most often identified.  In turn, stress reduction, increased energy, and an optimistic attitude are beneficial for academic success.  Spot yourself a few bonus points of preparation.  Come, enjoy the ministrations of these UAMS therapists.  The schedule when they will visit is as follow:

Nov. 28 (Wed.)           11:00-12:00

Nov. 29 (Thurs.)          12:00-1:30

Nov. 30 (Fri.)              11:00-12:30

Dec. 13 (Thurs.)          12:00-1:30.

They come to the first floor of the library near the bottom of the stairway.  Again, come be refreshed by the kin of Spot and Clifford.  Come to our small dog party.