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American University Hires Dog as a Professor

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The University of Southern California in Los Angeles has hired a new, furry staff member: a 2-year-old golden doodle named Professor Beauregard Tirebiter.

The golden doodle is the first full-time university facility dog in the U.S. according to USC News, a university news site run by USC’s communications team.

He resides on the second floor of the university’s student health center, where he provides affection and comfort to stressed students as a wellness dog, USC News wrote. He even has office hours, a uniform and business cards — though he has “trouble handing out the latter,” USC News added.

The hope is that Professor Tirebiter will help create a sense of community on campus, in addition to providing therapeutic companionship, said Paula Lee Swinford, director of the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion at USC.

Research suggests that positive interactions with dogs can create a sense of calm and well-being, said Olga Solomon, an assistant professor at the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

Petting a therapy dog can increase serotonin, beta-endorphin and Oxycontin –- chemicals and hormones that make people happy –- and decrease cortisol, a stress hormone, Solomon told USC News. For now, Professor Tirebiter is learning to get comfortable all over campus, in addition to some tricks, said Amanda Vanni, his handler who is also a health promotion specialist at USC’s student health center. The new staff member at USC has business cards and even an official Instagram page to keep students up to date with his activities.

 

This article was previously posted in ABC News  .

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