Parks library hosts pups in prep week

Olivia Monk a sophomore in marketing (right), Kate Lalonde, a sophomore in business analytics (left) and Jammer, a golden retriever, pictured sharing a moment during “Barks@Parks” Wednesday afternoon.

Jack Mcclellan

Parks Library is once again hosting Barks@Parks in the upper rotunda, allowing students a chance to take a break and interact with certified support dogs.

Students sat on the floor of the upper rotunda in a large circle, with a second smaller circle of students in the center. Four separate dogs made rounds through the set of circles, happily greeting students and receiving friendly embraces.

“I think it’s a nice activity for the students, and Ted likes it too,” said Steven Lonergan, the owner of a Boxer named Ted as well as a professor in animal science. “It’s good to have a distraction. A lot of people have a dog at home, and it’s just kind of a little bit of a break”

Lonergan’s boxer, Ted, was visibly happy to get so much attention, even from students he hardly knew. Unfortunately, Ted was unable to offer his own thoughts, but based on his temperament and demeanor, one could assume he had only positivity to share.

While Ted and Lonergan interacted with students on one side of the rotunda, a yellow lab named Cercy greeted students on the other. Nathan Turnis, a sophomore majoring in software engineering, shared his thoughts on the event.

“I kind of I love dogs. I have a dog of my own, a cockapoo back home, very great,” Tunis said. “And I kind of miss I miss him a lot, so this is a great way to kind of bring that love for dogs.”

Several students reported similar thoughts and feelings about the opportunity to greet such great dogs at the library. Getting a chance to decompress with man’s best friend and recharge can be helpful for students, especially during prep-week.

The students aren’t the only ones gaining from the experience. One dog owner, Shanda Harder, a strategy consultant at Wells Fargo, explained that the dogs not only enjoy the experience but receive credits for their support animal certifications.

“So Therapy Dogs International: they get the hours that they get logged, then they can get like ‘I’m a good therapy dog’ or a ‘super therapy dog’…” Harder said. “There are tests in the Des Moines area that are held, and you can come test your dogs so they have to go through testing. And them who are certified, they have to go through a lot of testing to get it.”

Testing and working with the dogs is important to ensure that they are well behaved while in the library. All the dogs who were present in the rotunda Wednesday afternoon were extremely sociable and friendly. 

“I love dogs, and it really made me happy to see them,” said Kate Lalonde, a sophomore in business analytics. “It just reminds me of home, and it’s so nice to have a little piece of that when you come here.”