With a wagging tail and wet nose, Sami the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, or “Toller” for short, greeted students looking to be pet and played with on Mar. 6 in Bush Memorial Library 131.
Sami is brought into the library every other Wed. for “Dog on Duty,” one of the many events put on by Peer Wellness Education (Peer Ed).
“She is a certified therapy dog,” Sami’s owner Mark Anderson said.
Animals, long known for helping relieve stress and bringing joy to people, are now frequently being trained as therapy animals to bring about a wide range of health benefits, including helping with symptoms of anxiety and stress.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders.”
Bringing in a therapy animal allows for students to spend time away from their homework, activities and other stressors to simply sit down and play with an animal looking to just bring joy to those who need it most.
Sami first visited campus during Stress Fest last semester with her sibling Nella. Following the event, Anderson reached out to see if Hamline would be interested in having Sami come more often.
“I actually approached Health and Wellness and [asked] ‘Would you be interested?’ and they said ‘Yeah,’” Anderson said.
Sami started visiting campus again on Feb. 20, and will now be attending on a biweekly basis besides during spring break. When Sami is not on campus fetching balls or running around asking to be pet, she can be found practicing for Flyball, a sport she plays year-round.
Since Sami is thirteen, her Flyball career is slowly coming to an end but her career as a certified therapy animal is not.
First-year Chloe Landhart visited Sami with two of her friends, looking to just sit down and enjoy time with a dog.
“I love dogs and it is stress relieving,” Landhart said.
Though this was Landhart’s first time coming, she said she plans on coming back.
“It is a fun thing to do,” Landhart said.
Sophomore and volunpeer Lauren McDonald was involved in the planning of the recurring event and was there with another member of Peer Ed.
As Sami continues to visit, there may be some changes.
“They mentioned [adding another dog],” Mcdonald said.
Sami will be back in Bush Memorial Library 131 Apr. 3, 17 and May 1 from 4-5 p.m., open for all students, faculty and staff to drop by and spend time with her.