A visit from Officer Tildy and comfort dogs boosts student mental health

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Students get a chance to play with six comfort dogs including UConn’s own Officer Tildy during the Meet & Greet with Officer Tildy and Comfort Dogs on the Union Terrace and Lawn from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25. Ben Grosse, a 9th-semester Management major, competes with Officer Addison, Torrington PD, for possession of the ball. Izzi Barton/Daily Campus

Amid the gloom of this past Monday, six furry rays of sunshine brightened the Student Union terrace.  

The University of Connecticut Police Department’s facility dog, Officer Tildy, was joined by five other ‘comfort’ Labradors to greet and de-stress students. The event was held in support of the Connecticut Humane Society and the Jordan Porco Foundation.  

From 1 to 4 p.m., students gathered to meet, pet and play with the dogs. According to those who stopped by, the canine affection was an effective therapy.  

First-semester students Skyler Hughes and Maria Brennan laughed as one dog retrieved a ball across the Union lawn. 

“They made me smile,” Brennan said. “We stopped in between classes and they are just so adorable.” 

Sixth-semester student Dan Delvalle said the visit was good for his mental health, especially during this time of the semester. 

“I am really happy they are here because they are a good stress reliever after midterms,” Delvalle said as he knelt down to pet a dog. 

According to third-semester student Sophia Circaldo, this was a nice experience for college students missing their family pets. Though an owner of four cats, Circaldo said the six dogs still filled the feline-shaped holes in her heart. 

“When you can’t go home as often and see your own pets, this really helps until then,” she said. 

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