This past summer, USC's Student Health Services got a facility dog.
Indigo Barkenstock, Indy, is an adorable golden retriever puppy that will hold office hours starting after fall break that will be posted on USC's Student Health's Twitter, online website and physically inside the center.
This therapy puppy's job is to help students with stress relief; she has been attending stress management meetings to prepare. No doubt, this good girl will melt hearts and worries away. On top of having office hours, she will attend Student Health Services events and programs, recently having gotten back from training and being spayed.
The best part is, Indy has an Instagram to hold you over until after fall break.
Now, the difference between a service dog and a therapy dog is that therapy dogs are trained to handle individuals, or groups, other than their owners psychological and physiological. They're encouraged to socialize and interact with people while on-duty compared to service animals and emotional support animals. Although, it is still polite to ask before petting a dog that doesn't know you.
Therapy dogs on college campuses are becoming popular and it is a movement everyone should be excited for. Indy was even featured in Teen Vogue!
She will be providing cuddles, slobbery kisses and nose boops. Belly rubs are encouraged. Not to mention, all the amazing side-effects therapy dogs can bring to a student's mental health, including slowing the heart rate, decreasing blood pressure and relaxing the muscles. And, a therapy dog can decrease the stress cortisol and increase oxytocin, "the love hormone."
All are amazing benefits and a good reason to stop by office hours; it will be way less intimidating than your professor's. She is sure to light up your face instantaneously.
Students already can't get enough of Indy. The wait for her office hours and anticipation of puppy love is a hard one. The number of responses she is receiving on social media platforms is proof that all college's need at least one therapy dog. Students keep asking when they get to come to play with this pup.
Pet a Pup is an initiative already set in place at USC through Student Health Services as a stress relief activity. It was created to fit into a student's daily schedule to relieve stress. It is a highly loved event which only encourages Indy to be a big success on campus as well. She will be welcomed and loved by all students.
Indy has returned to campus at a perfect time as students are preparing for midterms. It's almost the mid-point in the semester and this puppy will make it much easier to make it to December.
Whether in person or from Instagram or Twitter, this friendly pup will give you a sense of calmness and relief from a busy college student's day.
Indy is already everyone's favorite new staff member.