WVU freshman engineering program set to welcome therapy dog

In order to provide another level of support to freshman engineering students, West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is seeking help from a furry friend.

Marlon Brando is a five-year-old Australian Labradoodle. Born in Australia, he moved to North Carolina as a puppy and is now a member of the “staff” in the College’s Engineering Learning Center. He will be officially introduced to the College and University communities at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 20 at a reception in the Engineering Sciences Building.

Michelle Poland, freshman engineering adviser, has been focused on caring for the overall well-being of students since she started her position in June. She spearheaded the effort to bring Brando to the College and has completed training to be his handler.

The idea for a therapy dog first popped into her head when a coworker brought her dogs in to the ELC this past October. Poland observed a lot of students’ heads pop up, noticing the dogs.

“A bunch of people looked up and were smiling. And I thought, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’ So I started looking around to see how we could make this happen,” recounted Poland.

Research has shown that human-animal interaction can benefit one’s overall mental and physical health, reduce stress factors and improves one’s overall mood. WVU is among other top universities that use therapy dogs, like Emory University, the University of California-Berkley, Columbia University and others.

Read full article at: WVU News Today