Photo and Story by Connor Burnard / Contributing Writer
Therapy dog Canyon and his owner, MTSU senior biology major Leah Chism, made their last visit to MTSU on Sunday night in the James E. Walker Library before Chism graduates and moves to Texas.
Chism has brought four-year-old Canyon to the library regularly during her time at MTSU as a way to help students decompress from the stress of school and tests.
She said that while taking dual enrollment classes in high school, she spoke to the MTSU administration about bringing Canyon, whom she has registered with Therapy Dogs International, for students and began bringing him as a freshman.
She said that for many students who have dogs at home but are away from them at school, Canyon is a piece of home and a positive experience to spend time with.
“A lot of students can’t have their dogs on campus,” Chism said. “It’s just kind of a way to get a little taste of home and de-stress from finals and get to hang out and get a study break and just chill.”
Chism said that Canyon loves the visits and will miss them when he and his owner move away over the summer.
“He loves it. When I come out here, I say, ‘You want to go?’…and he just gets up and gets all excited. He likes the attention. He gets tired after a little while, but he likes coming out here,” Chism said. “We’re going to try to do it with a different college down there…We’re going to try to keep it up at different places.”
Chism is going to miss the visits as well.
“This is my school. I was glad to be able to do it for the students and…I’m sure the students are going to miss it too. That kind of bums me out for them,” she said.
Chism said that Canyon’s career will continue at colleges in northeastern Texas and that, hopefully, another therapy dog will come take his place soon to help students at MTSU unwind.
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