By Christian McCarville
Styled with a Rider bandana and T-shirt, the Rider’s newest resident waited outside Daly Dining Hall to greet students with a slight smile, as they were heading to lunch on Feb. 27.
Reciprocating that kind gesture, students gathered in swarms to meet the youngest member of the Rider community.
In return, the fresh face, fastened by a leash, served as a calming presence during the Pet Pause hour from 12 to 1 p.m., standing next to the Counseling Services Outreach team.
Cody, a Great Pyrenees mix, is Rider’s new resident therapy dog. Every Wednesday, Cody will spend an hour in the Vona Academic Annex for Pet Pause.
During this time, his job is to give joy and happiness to all of his patients.
Bettina Bunting, Cody’s owner, explained that the process of getting a dog certified to become a therapy dog was not an easy task.
“Cody has to have many health records on file in order to be a certified therapy dog,” Bunting said.
This was a precautionary necessity to ensure the safety of both Cody and his patients.
Bunting also said she had to be certified herself to be an owner of a therapy dog.
Although there was a process in ensuring Cody and Bunting are capable of these roles, Bunting noted how many students benefit from seeing these furry pals.
“They help students take their minds off of the daily stresses of their lives. This is the reason Cody and other therapy dogs are so popular around final exams season,” Bunting said. “These dogs assist college students in taking a break from long hours of studying and are extremely effective in reducing stress and anxiety.”
Bunting also said she hoped to see an expansion of the program in the future for Rider’s pet therapy service.
Jesse Liguori, a junior business supply chain major, said that interacting with Cody was impactful for him on a personal level, offering more sentimental value than stress-relief alone.
“It reminded me of my own dog back home,” Liguori said.
Many resident students who own dogs can relate to the sorrows leaving their pets behind while they are living on campus.
After a long, hard day, coming home to be greeted by a dog is noted by students to be extremely uplifting feeling — one that resident students cannot often partake in.
Luckily, Cody is here to compensate for all of the pet love students have been missing out on.
Students can meet Cody and his owner every Wednesday from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Vona Academic Annex.
Published in the 3/6/19 edition.