The Collegian
Thursday, December 08, 2022

Emmett’s furwell party: Students say goodbye to UR’s therapy dog

<p>Student embraces Emmett at his farewell party on Sept. 6 in the Well-Being Center.</p>

Student embraces Emmett at his farewell party on Sept. 6 in the Well-Being Center.

The University of Richmond community said goodbye to a beloved friend on campus —  Emmett, the therapy dog, in a farewell party held at the Well-Being Center. 

During the celebration on Sept. 6, countless students huddled over to hug Emmett for the last time and sign a card for him. 

“It was an emotional thing having Emmett leave, but we are excited for his journey in the future,” said Kaitlin Stasiunas Jones, health promotion coordinator at the Well-Being Center.

Jones worked with Emmett for almost two years, even before he was on board at UR. 

“Emmett made it easier for me to come to work every morning,” she said. “He was there when I was having a bad day, so his impacts are huge.”

Emmett joined the UR as a therapy dog in March 2021, when his mom, Kathy Harvel, started working as a registered nurse at the Student Health Center. After almost two years, Emmett has to say goodbye as Harvel has a new job. 

It was especially difficult for students who worked with Emmett, like junior Will Emerson, who has been “Emmett-trained” since fall of 2020. 


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Students sign Emmett's goodbye poster at the therapy dog's farewell party on Sept. 6. 


“Whether you just needed the joy a dog like Emmett can bring, or you wanted a reminder of your dog from home, Emmett was there for all of us,” Emerson said. 

Jones said the Well-Being Center staff was in the first stage of conducting a search for a new therapy dog. 

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“We have multiple people who reached out, and we are actively looking for a new dog,” Jones said.

First-years like Muskan Agarwal expressed their sadness about how they were not able to build a deep connection with Emmett like upperclassmen. 

“I feel a little sad because I see that upperclassmen have a special bond with Emmett, and I kind of was hoping I could do the same, but I am looking forward to the new therapy dog,” Agarwal said.

This is not the end of Emmett’s journey as a therapy dog. Emmett and his family are still living in Richmond, and he is going to continue his therapy work at local nursing homes. 

“I have no doubt Emmett will be hard to replace, and he will surely be missed, but I’m also confident that the Health and Well Being Center will try their best to provide a new dog who will fill the role he leaves behind,” Emerson said.

Contact news writer Ahona Anjum at ahona.anjum@richmond.edu.

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