Mackenzie Menard, a junior, hugs Shelburne the golden retriever, owned by Brewer resident Bill Butterfield. Therapy dogs were at Fogler Library at the University of Maine during finals week in December 2017. Credit: Emily Burnham

Bill Butterfield of Brewer brought his golden retriever, Shelburne, a licensed therapy dog, to the University of Maine this week to provide a little canine stress relief to students during finals week. He and several other trainers and their dogs spent a few hours Wednesday afternoon offering free pets, hugs and wags, on the invite of Fogler Library staff.

Butterfield knows Shelburne is a very good boy — so much so that he also takes him to area hospitals to visit patients.

“He just loves people. He’s good with everyone,” said Butterfield. “He’s fluffy. Everybody wants to hug him.”

Nearly every corner of UMaine’s library was occupied by students finishing papers or cramming for tests, but for a few blissful hours they could come to the main level of Fogler to cuddle with Shelburne, Jade the golden doodle or May-Bee the papillon. A corner of the first-floor study room was packed with students crowded around the dogs.

“I miss my dog at home so much,” said Mackenzie Menard, a junior originally from Attleboro, Massachusetts. “This is exactly what you need during a super stressful time.”

May-Bee, owned by Rebecca Henderson of Holden, also goes to the Bangor Public Library to hang out with small children, who read to the dog.

“You just know when a dog has the kind of personality that it can do this sort of thing,” said Henderson, who raises papillons and has two others of the breed that are therapy dogs. “You can see it from an early age. They just love people.”

Fogler Library hosted therapy dogs during finals week during both semesters in the last school year as well.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.