PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pitt students are not just dealing with the stress of finals these days. While the pressure can be overwhelming for some, man’s best friend is coming to the rescue.
Therapy dogs have been helping students at Pitt for the past couple of months to deal with evacuations and bomb threats.
For eight years, Margo, Maui and Sizzle have visited with students at the University of Pittsburgh for Therapy Dog Tuesdays. Recently, their job got a little more important as bomb threats have become a daily occurrence.
“It’s traumatic now. And they wake up and look online like which building is it today? What can we do? And their lives have been dramatically altered,” Marsha Robbins said.
The therapy dog sessions were created to calm nerves and ease stress, if just for a little. Missing classes, exams and being evacuated in the middle of the night, students have had anything but a normal spring semester. In previous years, students would take a break and simply de-stress by playing with the dogs.
Last week showed just how much students needed the dogs and appreciated them. A total of 24 dogs were there and hundreds of students stopped by.
“The kids were everywhere, it was just everywhere. And at that point, the stress was really starting to build because it was more than just the first two or three bomb threats. And they were starting to internalize the ramifications of all this nonsense going on,” Robbins said.
The bomb threats have now even had an effect on Therapy Dog Tuesdays. Because of recent restrictions, the dogs and the handlers can no longer join students inside their usual meeting place at the Cathedral of Learning.
They now have to meet outside when the weather allows and tonight’s event had to be cancelled.
“I totally understand why. I talked to the Pitt Police several times yesterday, trying to circumvent the restrictions safely. But, I understand that we just cannot,” Robbins said.
Even though tonight’s session has been canceled, you can still come see Maui, Margo and Sizzle next week on the lawn at the Union weather permitting.