Lend a Heart helps students de-stress with therapy dogs

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Dogs from Lend a Heart Lend a Hand Animal-Assisted Therapy were at American River College on Dec. 9, 2019. (File Photo)

Heather Amberson

Lend a Heart, a nonprofit organization that provides animal-assisted therapy, will host a therapy dog day on Feb. 27, outside of the Library Quad, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If there is rain, the event will be moved inside to the Student Center.

According to Ryan Nix, health services assistant, the event is supposed to help students relieve stress and have fun with the dogs.

“They are specially trained dogs that are good for people to interact with and be around,” Nix said.

According to Nix, in order to attend the event, students must sign a liability waiver, which is a Los Rios Community College District requirement.

Sandy McKaig, Lend a Heart staff member, said once the waiver is signed, students will get their hand or wrist stamped and then will be allowed to visit with the dogs. 

“There will be seven teams, consisting of a dog and a handler, on a couple of large mats,” McKaig said. “Dogs will be on their mats looking for attention and some [dogs will] do tricks.”

According to McKaig, there is no time limit with the dogs and students may come and go during the time the event is taking place. The dogs and Lend a Heart staff are there to help students and staff de-stress.

“Our dogs provide comfort and distraction, and they love hugs, cuddles, pets and attention,” McKaig said. “We provide supportive conversation.”

According to McKaig, Lend a Heart is also planning three more events in the coming months. 

“We will be back in March and April, and then in May for two days prior to finals,” McKaig said.