Fordham Notes: Who Let the Dogs Out?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who Let the Dogs Out?

This Saturday, March 15, Kay Scott, adjunct professor and doctoral student at the Graduate School of Social Service, will conduct a class project that looks at how the use of therapy dogs on campuses affects individuals’ moods.

Using a MAACL-R instrument, an instrument that measures quick changes in mood, Scott’s class will be measuring the impact of interaction of the dogs with students and others who will be at Fordham’s Westchester campus. Anyone from the Fordham community can participate. Volunteers will be asked to take a pre-test to measure their moods. Then, they can play with the dogs for up to an hour. After interacting with the dogs, participants will take the same test again to see if their moods have changed.

In GSS research courses, master’s students are introduced to the research process by being immersed into a class project picked by the professor, said Scott. As her research interests include animal-assisted interventions, a class project on the benefit of therapy dogs in a campus setting was a natural fit.

Scott said that colleges frequently bring therapy animals on campus during midterms for students to interact with, but no one has actually done a study to see if it’s helpful.

Scott said that the class project may become a research project for her in the future.

To interact with the therapy dogs, drop into Room G12 at the Westchester campus between 12:40 – 1:40 p.m. There will be eight therapy dog teams present. Each team consists of a volunteer handler and his/her own dog. Both the handler and dog have been trained and certified by therapy dog organizations.

The dogs have been tested to make sure they enjoy their jobs as "canine therapists". These handler/dog teams normally work at hospitals with psychiatric patients, children, or developmentally disabled individuals.

The event is sponsored by the GSS’s Research II Class. For more information, email

-Jenny Hirsch

No comments: