Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) students were greeted by the wagging tails of Allie, Kate, and Monty from Lehigh Valley Therapy Dogs on Monday, May 8 to destress and unwind before final exams. 
Monty is a Scottish Terrier from Danielsville, PA handled by Tracy Krapf. In addition to being a therapy dog since 2022, Monty regularly runs in an American Kennel Club (AKC) event called Fast CAT-a 100-yard dash that is timed for speed, enjoys snacking on apples, or playing with his toy disco ball. 
Allie and Kate are twin Shorkie sisters who have been providing therapy work since 2019, but just within the last year, focused efforts on the rigid training and certification necessary to expand their services into nursing homes and hospitals. In 2022, the twins tested with Alliance of Therapy Dogs and joined the Lehigh Valley Therapy Dogs chapter. They have greeted the Lehigh community during COVID-19 Testing, Giving Day, NavigateLU, One-to-One meetings, and the Turkey Trot, just to name a few.
Handler Christine Lesquier, Development Associate, Lehigh Office of Development and Alumni Relations, says, “They truly are ‘love on a leash’ and I love watching them spread sunshine and smiles, especially with the students.  There are many things I dearly love about these girls, but my favorite is how they are literally little furry bridge builders.” Since their pint size is rather non-threatening, the twins open doors to conversations that would not tend to happen without their presence, especially when it comes to the student body. “Our visit today for ChBE finals was such a good example of being able to informally talk with students. It is just a relaxing time to converse about things they love, that bring happiness, and take a break from worrying about exams, end of semester projects, and other college stressors. I am always amazed when we part company and they tell me ‘Thank you so much for letting me pet your dogs, it made my day’. It brings me such joy and is truly a pleasure to help in such a small way.”
Well-being is essential in dealing with academics, and just everyday life. The department strives to make sure that they can provide their students with a multitude of mindfulness resources, and initiatives to take advantage of throughout the year. “Students should flourish with ease, but there are many challenges surrounding student life and managing workloads, so we are happy to be able to provide some canine comfort with their peers as one way to help them continue to thrive” says Steven McIntosh, Lehigh Professor and Department Chair; Zisman Family Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Catch more paw therapy next semester! 
Photography by Sarah Vaknin
Need more support?
Lehigh Peer Health Advisors offer various programs for maintaining student health on campus. If students are looking for more direct academic preparation to relieve stress, the Center for Academic Success provides programs, tutoring and study skill information sessions.
24/7 remote mental health and well-being support is available to undergraduate and graduate students through the Student Support Program (SSP). Students can access self-directed digital content, engage in text chat support, and utilize ongoing one-on-one counseling with experienced and licensed clinical professionals. The program is confidential, accessible worldwide and offered at no cost to Lehigh students. The full range of counseling services continues to be available through University Counseling and Psychological Services (UCPS). This includes emergency and crisis services accessed through the main UCPS phone number, 610-758-3880.