therapy dog

Celebrating National Dog Day: Meet Grady

It’s National Dog Day and Caris College is fortunate enough to have our own campus friendly fur baby to celebrate! Each morning students, faculty, and staff walk through the door and receive a warm welcome from Grady, a purebred Golden Retriever.

Grady, also known as Grandy-Pants, is a therapy dog that belongs to the Program Director of  Veterinary Assisting, Sydney Peters. He is very polite, well-mannered, and provides a sense of calm to everyone on campus. Grady is from Fairmount, WV and will be six years old on November 16. His favorite things to do consist of going to the park, playing fetch with his owners, coming to Caris College each day, and of course students who take the time to show him some love.  

A Typical Day on Campus 

Grady’s “work” day starts at 7:30 a.m at Caris. With a wagging tail, he runs right through the front door, makes a quick stop in the breakroom, then runs up the stairs to greet the faculty and staff. Grady then makes his way to his first class of the day to greet the veterinary assisting students. In between classes and throughout the day, Grady enjoys passing the time by visiting Caris’ dental and medical assisting students as well as the acute clinical techs and sonographers. 

Throughout the day Grady gets a few potty breaks and tons of snacks.  

How did Grady become a therapy dog?

“Grady has had a great therapy dog disposition since he was a puppy! He passed his Canine Good Citizen and therapy dog test when he was only 1 year old” says Peters. 

When Peters interviewed for her current position at Caris College she told them about her dog, Grady. Peters told them Grady was a therapy dog and he can go to schools to help and interact with the students. After the interview, Grady’s work began immediately. 


Grady is very good at finding the person that needs some stress relief. He will lean against someone to encourage them to pet him. He seems to know when someone needs him. To interact with Grady, students just have to be in the building. Whether it is greeting them at the front door or nudging an elbow during class, he will find them. Grady makes his rounds to everyone!

What events has Grady been to?

Grady used to be involved with client education events. He also used to go to the animal hospital Peters worked at. The animal hospital would set up a booth at different events and Grady would go to advocate and catch people’s attention. Grady is looking forward to attending events with Caris College! 

Why should you Have a therapy dog on campus?

According to an article by Affordable colleges online, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that students experience and view stress and anxiety differently. 30% of students said stress affected their academic performance. 41.6% said anxiety was a top concern. 85% said they felt overwhelmed by the expectations and demands in the previous academic year.

Stress and anxiety are common among students and there are so many benefits of having a therapy dog on campus. These benefits are physical, social, cognitive, and emotional and mental health benefits. 


Interactions with therapy dogs have shown to reduce blood pressure, provide physical stimulation and assist with pain management. Therapy dogs have also shown to help slow breathing especially in those with anxiety.


Therapy dogs promote greater self-esteem. Also, they can help with socialization and help improve connections with others on campus. 


Therapy dogs stimulate memory and problem-solving skills. They can help with clarity and focus. Therapy dogs help with focused interactions with other students and teachers. 

Emotional and mental health 

A therapy dog can lift moods in the classroom and can offer friendship and a shoulder to lean on for students. Therapy dogs can also help lower anxiety, decrease loneliness, release happy hormones and lower stress hormones. 

Benefits of Grady being on campus

Grady interacts with the student body by being present. He is a calming presence and helps increase productivity. If you are stressed and pet Grady, it will calm you down especially on high anxiety days such as test days or finals week. “Grady loves his work so much that he is reluctant to leave and often stands in the middle of the parking lot,” says Peters.

Caris College strives to provide an environment where students can thrive and reach their full potential. Grady, in combination with our small class sizes, one-on-one tutoring, and family atmosphere ensures that each graduate is successful while going to college. If you would like to learn more about Caris College , take a minute to request more information or schedule a tour of our campus.