A lot of research has looked at how therapy dogs impact people, but not many projects have examined how being a therapy dog impacts the animal.
Two Delaware Valley University students partnered with Roxy Therapy Dogs to study stress in therapy dogs.
The research is aimed at improving the experience for dogs.
Kelly Gruber ’18 and Francesca Lanfranchi ’18, small animal science majors, conducted the research through DelVal’s Student Research course.
They swabbed the dogs’ mouths to check cortisol levels and used videos to check for signs of stress.
Student Research is a course that is offered through DelVal’s Experience360 Program (E360).
Through the E360 Program, 100 percent of the University’s undergraduates gain real-world experience before graduation.
“I feel lucky,” said Gruber. “I talk to my friends from other schools when I go home, and they’re blown away that I get to have this hands-on experience.”
Both Gruber and Lanfranchi have been accepted to veterinary school.
Learn more about the Experience360 Program at delval.edu/e360.