Animal Love at UNH
About a month into school, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, when any distraction from homework is always welcome, a couple friends and I grabbed a late breakfast at Philly, went back up to our dorms in Williamson, grabbed bags and rain gear and made our way to the campus barn, just before the Gables. Located a good five minute walk from the Whittemore, the barns are not only beautiful, with falling leaves and nature all around-they also offer visiting hours with the horses. One of my friends, a animal science major, and a student in a horsemanship class, took us around the stables introducing us to the various horses, all sweet and well-tempered. We took turns petting the ones who just had to have their heads scratched, ahed at their beautiful mane and coats, and watched those in the fields playing with their friends in the field over. Having a pet back home, I’m a huge animal person, but until we visited the stables that day, it hadn’t really struck me how much I was missing the constant presence of an animal in my life. And, statuses on my Facebook newsfeed reading “Is it bad that I miss my dog more than my parents” or “Going home just to visit my cat” led me to believe that I wasn’t the only one. And, though I’m sorry to say that dorms on campus don’t permit the housing of animals, there are plenty of opportunities, besides frequent visits to the barn, to get your fill of animals on campus, and I’m excited to tell you all about them!
We’ve all seen professors on campus walking their dogs, all more than willing to stop and let you pet them. But, unbeknownst to me until recently, there is one specific therapy dog here on campus very worth knowing- enter Hamilton. Hamilton, owned (and trained) by Maria Caplan, a nutrition educator and counselor, is a four year old Great Dane mix who can actually be scheduled for sessions by students and faculty at UNH. Soon, Hammy will be offering individual one-on-one therapy sessions (staring in January). As of now, Hamilton can be scheduled to visit dorm halls, apartment residencies, Greek houses, etc., Mondays and Tuesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (appointments required in advance!). Not only is scheduling an appointment a great way to hang out with Hamilton, but it also offers an opportunity for you and your friends, hall mates, or whomever you’re with to kick back, relax and take a much needed study break before returning to the books. Hamilton is a certified Good Canine Citizen, and you can read more about him and his training at http://www.unh.edu/health-services/pawsandrelax.
Frenzy Free Finals:
Of course, while Hamilton might be a more permanent character here at the UNH campus, the university has been involving more and more therapy dogs on campus in an effort to offer much needed mood boosters-and it all happens right around finals week. Frenzy Free Finals is an event that offers a ton of great ways to relax during all those tough study sessions at Dimond Library, but for the sake of this article, the prime attractions are the furry friends who circle in during the day, attended by their trainers, settling in around the library, enjoying pets and cuddles from students. But if finals seem too far away to wait, remember there are always owners around campus happy to have you pet their dogs! Just don’t be afraid to ask!