The semester is quickly winding down, and finals week is upon us. The stress of being away from home, studying late into the night, and wanting to get the best grade possible can be anxiety inducing for many students. Mental health affects how one thinks, feels, and acts. It also helps determine how one handles stress, relates to others, and makes healthy choices. It is an integral piece of everyday life, no matter what stage. A small interaction with some canine comfort can have a large impact on someone's day – and their mental health.
Meet Windsor, Kate, and Allie from the Lehigh Valley Therapy Dogs. Allie and Kate are twin Shorkie sisters who have been providing therapy work since 2019, and who made their debut with ChBE last semester. Windsor, a Golden Retriever, celebrated his 15th birthday on Saturday, and has devoted 13 of those dog years to various therapy services. He joined ChBE today, after a short stent of retirement – now in an alliance certified wheeled cart. His tail wagged just as fast as student faces lit up when entering the lobby to greet one another. Handler Katie Dyer introduced him as “Windsor, king of the castle", and he indeed was treated like a king for the day.
While the canine visitors must retreat back to their homelands, keep in mind, there are other ways to ensure cooling down before burning out. Prioritize sleep - poor sleeping habits were associated with poor task orientated performance, cognitive performance, memory recollection, and logical reasoning - according to a Harvard study. Manage stress - take breaks, learn about your needs, utilize support systems, and schedule time for hobbies or downtime. Mindful eating - there is always a time and a place for all kinds of foods (vegetables AND desserts) - balance is a great place to begin. Know your resources - UCPS/TELUSCenter for Academic Success, PHA, HAPS, faculty, staff, and all of the Lehigh community- are here to support each and every student. 
More furry friends will return next semester!: May 6, 2024, 11:00-1:00PM, STEPS Concourse Lobby
Photography by: Daniel Simboli