Counseling Services welcomes a furry friend
By Vera Ekhator, Staff Writer
This year one of Gettysburg College’s newest members is making a huge impact on campus–his name is Zach. Zach is a new member of the counseling staff, and he also happens to be a chocolate Labrador retriever. After receiving training at Cold Creek Trainers, Zach became a certified support animal. He is available from Tuesday to Thursday for interaction with students.
Dr. Bradley, Associate Dean for College Life, was the pioneer for the support dog program that brought Zach to campus. Bradley had looked into research concerning the benefit of animals on one’s mood and believed that having an animal for students to interact with would be beneficial to the campus community. After getting the support animal program approved by the administration, Bradley reached out to Terry Cotter, who is Zach’s owner/handler. Cotter, also the Senior Administrative Assistant of Counseling Services, was kind enough to let Zach participate in the program.
Zach is much like a local celebrity here on campus. If the way students reacted to Zach during a short walk around campus is any indication of his overall effect then it is quite evident that Zach does indeed bolster the moods of students. There was not a single student Zach passed who did not coo, smile or reach out to pet him.
Zach is located at the Counseling Center, and regardless of whether students receive counseling services or not, they are able to stop by and say “hello” or make an appointment to hang out with Zach. Making such an appointment is easy and quick, and some lucky students may even have the opportunity to take Zach out for a walk. Although only 10 months old, Zach is not only well behaved but also outgoing and friendly.
Zach the friendly neighborhood “dogtor” may not have a lab coat or a cape, but he does have an orange and blue vest that makes him easily identifiable. So, if you have a pet back home that you miss or just want a mood lift, make an appointment or swing by to see Zach!