Whether it be midterms, presidential updates, or fear over certain viruses, it is understandable to find yourself especially anxious as of late. Why not surround yourself with something more relaxing? Thankfully, Endicott’s Therapy Dog Thursday offers welcomed break in the form of a four-legged friend. These dogs are particularly friendly, each bringing their own personalities to campus with them. Last Thursday, March 5th, Endicott welcomed William Hooper and his therapy dog Nanook in the Hale Library.
Nanook, now 10 years old, is a Siberian Husky. He was born and raised in Louisiana, but in August of 2017 he was surrendered to a shelter in Mississippi. Later that year, Nanook was sent to be fostered by Helping Paws Maine, where he remained until he was adopted by William in October of 2017.
Nanook and William wasted no time in making sure Nanook would be given opportunities to help others, as Nanook officially became a certified Therapy Dog on April 21st, 2018. He received his certification through Dog B.O.N.E.S. Therapy Dogs of MA.
Dog B.O.N.E.S. (Dogs Building Opportunities for Nurturing and Emotional Support) is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization based in Massachusetts. Dog B.O.N.E.S., which provides dog visits to nearly anywhere requested in Massachusetts, also offers varying courses and workshops which can certify a dog/owner as a member of their “therapy dog teams”.
William described these courses for dogs as “more so to get the dogs comfortable around people and in the environment, rather than obedience training.” In most cases, it is simply a dog’s anxiety and/or mistrust of humans which lead to uncooperative behavior. Once those tensions are lifted, a dog will behave perfectly fine.
Therapy dogs do not necessarily have to “play” or even be very attentive towards the people they are with. Nanook simply sat on his bed, allowing those who came by the pet or sit with him as they pleased. William even mentioned that Nanook (or, interestingly enough, any dog he’s ever owned) had never known how to “play”. Instead, all a therapy dog needs to offer is a comfortable presence.
With midterm season in full effect, most students are finding themselves in the library’s quiet corners anyways. For those who go during the day on Thursdays, they may find themselves in the company of an especially patient and social furry friend. Whether or not that furry friend is the stunningly handsome Nanook, however, is not guaranteed.