The announcements for the Center for the Student Experience-sponsored “Play Day” touted an enticing array of activities designed to promote maximum stress release and lighthearted fun. The calendar of events read like a childhood fantasy birthday party come to life: ceramic painting, chair yoga, pizza, goodie bags, ice cream sundaes and, perhaps most intriguing of all, therapy dogs. To this reader, that last element conjured visions of frankfurters spiked with ginko biloba. It was hard not to wonder whether this was some trendy new food experiment engineered to fuse childhood nostalgia with natural healing properties.
As it turns out, the above type of therapy dog is a culinary idea whose time has yet to come. Play Day’s dogs, of course, were of the canine variety. And their therapeutic benefits were immediately apparent to anyone who stepped foot into Room 201, the Play Day hub, where clusters of students huddled around the three furry pets laying on the floor basking in all the attention.