Julia Meyers-Manor quoted in another article receiving widespread attention

Associate Professor of Psychology Julia Meyers-Manor is quoted as an expert in another article that is receiving widespread sharing. “Comfort dogs are greeting Uvalde students for their return to school. Here’s how canine visitors can help after tragedy” was published Wednesday, Sept. 7, by CNN.

The article discusses an increasing use of therapy or comfort animals in supporting communities affected by trauma and gun violence. On Tuesday, Sept. 6, comfort animals were brought in to help ease feelings of fear and anxiety for the first day of school in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District in Texas. Robb Elementary School was where 19 students and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting in May.

“Dogs can notice when someone is upset or needs help, according to Julia Meyers-Manor, an associate professor of psychology at Ripon College in Wisconsin, who has come to such findings in her research,” the article states.

“‘We know that dogs can reduce stress through petting and even physical presence. We also know that animals can increase attendance at and willingness to accept therapy in both children and adults,’ Meyers-Manor wrote in an email to CNN.

“‘My research on empathy suggests that dogs are sensitive to human crying and seek to make contact with crying individuals,’ she wrote. ‘We know empathy of dogs isn’t the whole story, though, as people find comfort even in stuffed animals, pictures of animals, and even robotic animals.’”

Meyers-Manor added that while she thinks comfort dogs can help in times of stress and anxiety, some children might be allergic to or scared of dogs. “We should be thoughtful about the dogs that we choose to use and how we implement them,” she says in the article. “Not every child is comforted by a dog. When used as an optional part of the school day, though, I think they can bring some joy to the children.”

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