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Loaner Puppies: The Latest Elite College Perk

Harvard Medical School therapy dog Cooper
Harvard Medical School therapy dog CooperCourtesy Harvard Medical School/Countway Library

At a certain type of college, students have come to expect coddling. Perks that enhance campus life, such as maid servicegyms with lazy rivers, rock-climbing walls, and university-provided laptops have been the subject of many a listicle. Now discerning applicants to top-ranked universities might well ask: How’s the puppy access?

Schools including Harvard and Yale have begun to house therapy dogs—calm canines traditionally used to comfort elderly or sick people in institutions—giving a cuddly reprieve to some of the country’s most stressed-out students. Harvard Medical School’s library has a Shih Tzu named Cooper, available for playtime with students two days a week. Cooper has his own reservation page on Harvard Library’s website. “He enjoys fetching his squeaky toys and stuffed animals, as well as a good game of tug. Should you have a good cry or even feign a whimper near Coop, you are guaranteed to get lots of kisses,” according to his owner’s description.