Pet Therapy has been a school event at Bloomsburg University for around five years, but recent staffing issues may threaten its lifespan.
Maureen Hill is an interpreter for the deaf and unofficial Pet Therapy specialist staffed by BU. She usually runs the Pet Therapy events by herself during midterms, finals, and a few special events like the Husky Leadership Summit.
Hill doesn’t have an official position as a pet therapy event planner, so she can’t create a team of planners on her own. It’s also difficult for her to do all of the organizing and coordinating with her therapy dog owners: “It’s just difficult to handle the room setup, parking, supplies, and over 40 therapy dog owners ” she says.
Hill’s therapy dog owner staff is completely volunteer based, and she doesn’t accept money from students to fund her events. “I do this because of the students,” she says. “The way students light up when petting the dogs is a one-in-a-million thing.”
Despite the difficulties, Hill wants to continue as long as she’s able.
Hill hopes to eventually have a Pet Therapy Information and Certification class to teach as a general education credit. She’s also trying to get approval from the president for a group of dogs that she could “bring to students in various locations” to help them de-stress.
When asked about a student run organization to help her out, Hill is also in favor of a possible student-run organization to help her plan her events. Additionally, she says that she’d love for more students to come to the events because “the higher-ups” may then allow her to hold more events in the future.
She also said students are welcome to volunteer to help set up events, either for community service hours or simply out of interest.
Freshman Psychology major Abby Kierzkowski agrees that more student involvement would be a positive thing, especially a student organization:“ I’d love an organization like that, and I’d want to be part of the executive board.”