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Seton Hall University

Therapeutic Dogs Bring Finals Stress Relief to Students  

Photo of a student petting a dog on the green

Junior Alanna Angulo pets Tank on the green.

In anticipation of final exams, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) brought five therapeutic dogs to the Campus Green on reading day for the fifth year in a row.

Students flocked to the Green to enjoy the beautiful spring weather and prepare for their upcoming exams. The highlight of the day however was not the absence of classes or the enjoyable weather, but rather the five therapeutic dogs roaming across the grass.

Students formed crowds around the dogs, taking turns petting, hugging, and taking photos with the canines. Alix, Tank, Jasper, Ginger, and Bella offered their assistance in helping students de-stress from the demanding final exam season.

Students were not the only ones to enjoy the company of the furry friends as staff and faculty partook in the event as well, taking photos of their own with the dogs. Dr. Katherine Evans, director of CAPS, oversaw in the event from the center of the Campus Green, enjoying the cheerful atmosphere.

"Bringing 'Dog Day Afternoons' to campus has been a big success for five years. The dogs, their owners and CAPS staff look forward to bringing our students together to relax and de-stress several times throughout the year," said Evans. 

The effect of seeing a playful puppy has a greater effect than others may realize explained Dr. Evans.

"Petting a dog lowers blood pressure and releases a brain hormone that reduces stress and improves social interactions. Most find time spent with a therapy dog, or a pet, to be time focused on the here and now, not on anxieties about the future."

This event is one of several events that CAPS and other organizations like Health Services have held in the past to aid the students in particularly stressful periods. In April, therapeutic ponies were brought to the University Center for similar reasons. These organizations aim to teach students healthy methods to cope with stress and other rigors of college. Advice on how to have healthy sleep routines, effective time management, and mindful eating habits are a few of the areas in which CAPS and others can offer expertise.

The five dogs have all been certified by various organizations including: Therapy Dogs International, The Alliance for Therapy Dogs and Bright and Beautiful. These organizations are dedicated to regulating and vetting therapy dogs and their handlers. These certified dogs, accompanied by their volunteer handlers, go to hospitals, nursing homes and any other locations that need their services.

"It's events like these that make the final exam season more manageable," said Alanna Angulo, a junior majoring in social work. "Hours of studying in the library can become unproductive. Being able to relax and have fun with these dogs is the perfect solution to the problem."

Categories: Campus Life , Health and Medicine

For more information, please contact:

  • Laurie Pine
  • (973) 378-2638
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