By Hayden Choate
On Monday, September 20th, Springfield College hosted a group of furry friends during the shared hour. The annual Dog Day was back on campus, where students, faculty and members of the college community could take a break from their day and meet some dogs.
The event was organized by Campus-Freizeit and took place again this year after not taking place last year due to COVID-19.
Diana Curtis, a qualified fitness and wellness assistant for campus leisure, helped ensure that the event takes place again this year.
“We used to do Dog Day pretty much every year until it was obviously COVID, and then we wanted to renew it this year, so we decided to do it as an outdoor event only,” said Curtis.
Along with the dogs, Campus Leisure brought an ice cream truck to campus to give people a nice break from their potentially stressful day.
“It’s just one way to help people’s mental health, especially at the beginning of the year when it can feel very overwhelming,” Curtis said.
The dogs were brought to campus by a group called Bright Spot Therapy Dogs Inc., a non-profit organization founded in 2004 where volunteers take their therapy dogs to various locations.
Bright Spot’s mission statement is: “is committed to providing well-trained, certified therapy dog teams in meaningful programs that offer comfort and care through the human-dog bond. ”
This was the first community event Bright Spot had been able to attend since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brian Schick and his 6-year-old golden retriever and cocker spaniel mix, Jeeves, were delighted to welcome members of the Springfield College community on Monday afternoon.
“I’ll be happy to come,” said Schick. “We’re going here, we’re going to Baypath, we’re going to Umass Amherst, it’s good.”
Colleges aren’t the only places where therapy dogs and their owners make people more relaxed and in a better mood.
“We go to a local elementary school for children who have reading problems, they come and read to the dogs, and then we go to Bradley Airport, they let us go through the departure areas so people who are nervous about flying or children who are stiffly bored. When they sit in the lounge, they appreciate having dogs around, ”said Schick.
Schick and Jeeves have been going to Bright Spot events for four years and remember coming to Springfield College two years ago. Schick is excited and hopeful that this is the beginning of visiting the various places with Jeeves again.
“We’re starting at Bradley Airport again next week,” said Schick. “Then the school we used to go to said they wanted to resume so we should be back to normal by next month I think.”
It was a beautiful day outside on Monday which resulted in a lot of people attending Dog Day.
In addition to Dog Day, campus free time will also bring back goat yoga, which will take place on October 4th during the shared class on Naismith Green. Curtis was impressed with the general participation in Dog Day, which was one of the first campus leisure events hosted this semester.
“Obviously it’s going to be very well received,” said Curtis. “This is always one of our biggest events, but I think the biggest thing is that we appreciate everyone who comes and that they bring the dogs for us.”