September 7, 2012
The McGeorge Law Library has acquired a certified therapy fish named Mr. Yú to calm the nerves of anxious students. Yú, a rosy minnow, will be available for consultation during normal reference desk hours.
In recent years, law schools have added the provision of therapy animals, usually dogs, to the services they provide. It is well documented that visits with therapy dogs have resulted in increased happiness, calmness and overall emotional well-being. Research has shown that interaction with pets decreases the level of cortisol — or stress hormone — in people and increases endorphins, known as the happiness hormone.
The law schools at Yale University, the University of Arizona, Emory University, and the University of San Francisco are among those that employ therapy dogs. While dogs are the most common therapy animal, cats, donkeys and rabbits have also found employment in the therapy field. Cornell University has a therapy llama. With the employment of a therapy fish McGeorge has positioned itself on the cutting edge of animal therapy.
Consultation with a therapy fish provides students with all the endorphins that a visit with a dog or llama would produce, but the tort danger is significantly lower. Mr. Yú is a mere 1 ¾ inches long and his teeth pose no danger to human flesh. In fact, Mr. Yú adheres to a strict vegan diet. When not conducting therapy sessions, Mr. Yú spends his time volunteering with the Neptune Society.