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‘Animals bring people joy’: Bluefield College introduces Hazel, campus’ new therapy dog

She’s currently serves as an emotional support animal until she finishes her therapy dog training

Bluefield College introduces Hazel, campus’ new therapy dog (Bluefield College)

BLUEFIELD, Va, – A four-legged friend will welcome Bluefield College students when they return to campus this fall.

Officials introduced two-month-old Hazel, the college’s new therapy dog who will work in the Center for Counseling and Wellness.

Dr. Jessica Sharp, Hazel’s owner and the dean and professor of nursing, thought using the white lab is a great way to provide services to students and help reduce barriers to accessing mental health services on campus.

“Some students may feel uneasy about coming to see a counselor, but it may be different if students are coming to see Hazel,” said Emily Cook, director of counseling and wellness.

Cook said the pup’s primary role will be to support students and make them feel comfortable while attending counseling to ease any nerves they may be feeling due to school-related stress.

Hazel currently serves as an emotional support animal until she finishing her training as a therapy dog.

Bluefield College said she will begin a six-week training course in August.

“Animals bring people joy,” said Sharp. “She will be a nice addition to campus. When people need a moment away from their desks, they can come love on Hazel.


About the Author:

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.