Therapy dogs visit campus before finals

By Zachary Klein

The Active Minds club, in conjunction with the Rider Counseling Center, hosted an event featuring therapy dogs on Dec. 2 in the Student Recreation Center atrium for students to play with.

A line to play with the four service dogs of various shapes and sizes was present all the way across the atrium as students were eager to pet the therapeutic animals.

Junior marketing major and event coordinator for the Active Minds club Jordyn Cascone organized the event. She was thrilled with how the event turned out.

“With self-care so important leading up to finals, this is like a de-stress event,” Cascone said.

The Active Minds club was recently revived on campus to advocate for mental health at Rider. This was one of the first major events that they had hosted since the full reopening of campus.

“We just thought it would be a really nice idea,” Cascone said excitedly. “Everybody likes dogs … and we just contacted some dog therapy organizations to see if they were interested.”

One of the dogs present at the event was Clancy, a spinone italiano who was rather large but friendly and fluffy. He was popular among many students. Clancy was accompanied by Jennifer Barkey, a representative from Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs.

“It’s really nice to get out and visit these places again,” Barkey said. She also mentioned that the group has done similar events at other schools including Mercer County Community College and The College of New Jersey.

According to Cascone, there used to be a faculty member who had a therapy dog that they brought to campus regularly. That faculty member is no longer at Rider, so therapy dogs have been absent since 2019.

Students, including freshman vocal performance major Jennie Mae Sprouse, were extremely happy to be interacting with the animals along with their friends in a community setting.

“I decided to come because I really missed my pets and to de-stress before exams,” Sprouse said.

Another student present was sophomore accounting major Stephanie Leung.

She also said she was attending to relax in this very busy time of year.

Cascone and the other members of the Active Minds club agreed that this was a great showing for an event that they did not expect many people to attend.

Cascone said, “I think the turnout is pretty great, and hopefully we can do it again in the spring.”

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