Bailey helps Hurst students to settle in


Gillian Mazur, Staff writer

“Hurst is Home” may be a newer slogan for Mercyhurst, but whether home is 20 minutes or 20 hours away, Mercyhurst has always strived to help make campus feel like a place of refuge and comfort for all students.

While there are various free amenities that Mercyhurst provides, what is home without man’s best friend?

Known for being loyal, friendly and calm, Bailey is the perfect therapy dog for a diverse college campus. Bailey is our on-campus therapy dog and Mercyhurst pet.
As he is a Havanese, his fur is hypoallergenic, meaning that even students with allergies can come and pet him. This makes him able to cater to all types of students and meet the campus population’s needs.

Since 2012, Bailey has been the furry companion to the Cohen Health and Counseling Center.

He has been coming here since he was a mere eight weeks old and sees about 60 students on any given day.

His most common visitors are freshmen who miss their pets in their first year away from home, and upperclassmen who have grown to know and love Bailey over the years.
Judy Smith, Ph.D., director of the Health and Wellness Center, was kind enough to talk to the Merciad and answer questions on behalf of Bailey.
“We got Bailey to be kind of a pet partner here with the Health and Counseling Center, and our thought was that students often miss their pets while they’re here. Most people like dogs, and when they pet them it calms them down. When they play with them it makes them laugh, and we know that sometimes when students are coming over here they are under a lot of stress,” Smith said.

Bailey is known for wandering around the Cohen Health Center and bringing smiles to the patients in the waiting room. He often pops his head in the door during counseling sessions and even during doctor’s appointments.

Because Bailey is so popular across campus, steps have been taken to make him even more accessible for students this year.  Bailey will be making weekly appearances in the various residence halls in the upcoming months. His schedule can be found on posters throughout campus, with his first visit scheduled for McAuley Hall from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the first Friday of every month. Bailey will then visit Baldwin Hall on Fridays of the second week, Warde Hall on the third Friday and Ryan Hall on the last Friday of the month during the same afternoon time slot.

Students can also call the Health Center at (814) 824-2037 to speak to the Health Center secretary to make an appointment to see Bailey.

Once students have an appointment, they can take Bailey into the Health Center’s relaxation room. This room is a space for students to reflect and relax while exploring their emotional and physical health. The Relaxation Room offers various resources on muscle relaxation, meditation, relaxation imagery and sounds, as well as quality time with Bailey.

Considering that students are generally not allowed to have any pets on campus, Bailey is a wonderful resource and novelty for students.

His calm temperament, adorable appearance and infectious energy are some of the key traits that draw students in, although Bailey is also known to be a favorite among staff.

Once every four weeks, freshman Forensic Anthropology major, Kristen Guarneschelli goes to the Health Center for her allergy shots. “I love seeing Bailey,” Guarneschelli said.
Other students across campus share similar sentiments.

Sophomore Intelligence Studies major Jordan Kessler says that Bailey never fails to remind her of home.
“Bailey’s presence in the Health Center waiting room never fails to put a smile on my face and make me feel at ease, because seeing him feels like coming home and being in my own living room,” Kessler said. “There’s something so comforting and homely about pets in general and to know that Bailey is here as a resource for us only makes that feeling even better.”

Bailey’s face will be seen across campus over the coming months and students are encouraged to visit him in their dorms or stop in to say hi.