Checking Out Monty: Yale Law Students Can Reduce Stress With Therapy Dog

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Because stress generally doesn't carry the stigma sometimes associated with a diagnosis like depression, Sinha thought stressed students would be more willing to sign up for a half-hour with a therapy dog than seek a mental health evaluation. However, she said that placing the sign-up list in a very visible spot like the circulation desk "certainly could or should give one pause to at least consider all the ramifications" of making the sign-up process so public.

Yale, which began issuing law degrees in 1843, long has been considered an academic pressure-cooker. Law school admissions standards are exceedingly high; the school accepts just 6.7 percent of applicants. Those fortunate enough to get one of about 200 places in the first-year class face annual tuition of $48,500, although 80 percent of them get financial aid based on need.

On top of that, there's the pressure of expectations associated with a Yale law degree. Prominent Yale Law alumni include three sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices: Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas; two former presidents: Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford; a current governor: Jerry Brown of California; and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Visits With Monty Will Be in Non-Public Space

Requirements for a therapy dog are rigorous, too. They include "an outstanding temperament," as well as tolerance of other animals, according to the TDI website.

Although Monty is hypoallergenic, Kauffman wrote that the dog's therapy visits would be "confined to a designated non-public space in the library to eliminate potential adverse reactions from any library user who might have dog-related concerns."

Leave it to a law school at a university whose mascot is a bulldog named Handsome Dan, to protect itself from potential complaints (or legal action) from students, faculty and staff.

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