Love Dogs and They Love You Back

By1 Kory Scott

Love Dog Adventures brought its volunteers with their dogs to visit with students on College of Southern Nevada’s Charleston campus Nov. 17 to provide relief from a stressful term.

There is an ability that dogs have to provide physical and emotional healing for people by creating therapeutic and loving interactions, according to Love Dog Adventures’ website.

CSN’s library staff understands these benefits and have worked the last few years to bring Love Dogs to hang out with students.

Stephanie Espinoza, librarian at Charleston campus, explained the partnership and benefits. “We love having the Love Dogs here. We actually invited them a few semesters back because there have been trends in different academic libraries where they would bring in therapy dogs to help students kind of de-stress during final exams. They’ve been certified to be therapy dogs so we make sure the dogs that come are certified and then we spend a couple of hours just letting them interact with the students.”

“Our therapy animals are exquisitely trained and well-mannered and bring comfort and joy to whomever they visit,” according to Love Dog Adventures’ website. The dogs visit hospitals, care facilities and schools throughout the years and CSN was lucky enough to get them this November.

Susan Gregg, CSN librarian at North Las Vegas campus, said, “These dogs connect to the students. They don’t wreak havoc and are not disruptive.” In contrast they are very loving and joyful additions to the school environment.

Michelle Daidone brought her dog Daisy, a Love Dog, to work the Charleston event. “Daisy’s favorite thing to do is to greet and make people happy.”

“She’s my therapy dog that I found in 2014 and after she had the puppies that were in her belly when I found her, we went through training and she trained for about a year in Texas,” Daidone said. “Then I moved [to Las Vegas] and she went through the Love Dog training out here.” Now they do many events.

Leslie Phillips, dog owner of Love Dog Dash, described how dogs relieve stress. “Five minutes of petting a dog reduces blood pressure.”

According to the medical website WebMD, dogs can help people improve their health and lives in many ways. They can help people ward off depression, improve mood, lower blood pressure and cholesterol among other things. They also help lower stress, which is why Love Dogs are so helpful to students.

Brooke McGonigal, owner of Log Dog Marley, knows the value dogs have and the difference they can make in people’s lives.

“I’ve been working with Love Dogs for one year now,” McGonigal said. “Marley is only two so we started right when she was 1 year old and it has been just very eye-opening to me to see how much impact animals really have on people’s lives.”

Gabi Aguilar, owner of Love Dog Fergie, described her appreciation for dogs. “Well, it impacted my life because it showed me that dogs can really change a person’s life just by being with them and petting them. Through all the work that I’ve done, I always see the smiling faces of all the people that meet Fergie, which also makes me very happy. This volunteer work is so fun especially if you’re an animal lover.”

“I’m retired and this is giving back to the community,” Phillips said. “It’s trying to help children. Mostly my goal with children is to make sure they’re kind to animals.” The work Phillips and her dog do helps students learn how to be gentle and compassionate with animals, instead of cruel. She hopes to make them into animal lovers.

Sue Grundfest brought her dog Petey to the Charleston event. Petey has some physical struggles but loves to work with students. “He has minimal vision. He has cataracts. If he was just deaf but could see I would use signs and signals, but now that he’s pretty much both I touch him in different places and I also taught him some leash work like you would a horse.” Even with some physical limitations, Petey’s heart is strong and his love for helping others is real.

For more information on Love Dog Adventures go to http://www.lovedogadventures.com/.

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