Landmark College Therapy Dog Walks


Jacob Dell, Student Reporter

Have you been feeling stressed or worried about assignments and due dates this semester? Never fear: members of faculty and staff offer public walks with their therapy dogs.

Therapy dogs are not your normal everyday pet, they are trained to reduce the amount of anxiety someone has.

According to Tamara Stenn, Assistant Professor for Professional Studies and owner of a therapy dog on campus, “a therapy dog is a dog that is able to pass its Good Citizen Test.” 

The Canine Good Citizen Test is a test to prove that therapy dogs have gone through a very special training process before they can give comfort and support to people.

“A lot of [the dog’s] training is about reducing [the dog’s] anxiety, which means exposing them to a lot of different situations,” Andy Donahue said. “They have the dogs [go to] day cares, construction sites, have them around men and women, and kids.”

“Their training is also about how to not make people feel uncomfortable,” he said. “When therapy dogs go up to people, they will sit next to them, and the dog will turn his face away, because a lot of people don’t like a dogs face right in theirs.”

Donahue added that “therapy dogs have to not be very anxious and be afraid of people, and that they are very comfortable around them”.

Each therapy dog has “about ten things” that they have to be able to do, according to Donahue. “They can’t react to other dogs, so no barking or lunging. They have to be able to walk on a leash with slack. So they’re not pulling the leash. They have to not react to food.”

“They have to be able to tolerate being touched in many different ways: being pet, pulled at, squeezed, touched in many different ways.”

“Therapy dogs are not that good with tricks, but they are good at being with people. That is pretty much their job.”



Therapy dogs have been very good at calming people down who are stressed about things going on in their daily life, and around the world.

According to a New York Times article about a June 2022 study published PLOS One,  “spending time with therapy dogs may help lower children’s stress levels even more than relaxation exercises.”

The study “shines a light on that powerful child-canine connection. It found that twice-weekly sessions with a dog and its handler significantly lowered children’s levels of cortisol.” Cortisol is a stress hormone. 

The study said “their cortisol levels were, on average, lower immediately after each dog session,” and “dog-assisted interventions can indeed lead to lower stress in children, with and without special educational needs, over a typical school term.”

The researchers discovered that “for children with special educational needs, similar patterns were seen, with decreases in cortisol after dog group interventions.”

Throughout time, therapy dogs have been a very useful tool to help relax anybody, regardless of who the person is.

So if you have been feeling agitated or overwhelmed by college assignments or social life, I would highly recommend attending the next walk to help take your mind off things.

It could also be good for your body to get some workout too. It is always good to get some exercise every once in a while. According to a Landmark College student, “therapy dogs make you relaxed”.


Image from SharePoint


Andy Donahue (Director of Social Pragmatic Programs and Services), and Tamara Stenn (Assistant Professor for Professional Studies) both lead walks with therapy dogs Guddu, and Margo every week. Margo is walked on Monday and Tuesday, and Guddu is walked on Wednesday, and Thursday.

There are options to walk with the dogs on:


  • Mondays  at 11:00am-12:00 pm, and again at 1:00 pm-2:00 pm .
  • Tuesdays at 2:30pm-3:30pm.


  •  Wednesdays at 9:00am to 9:45am
  • Thursdays at 9:00am to 9:45am

All walks begin in front of Davis Hall. There is no need to sign up to attend, you can just come and join if you please.