Dogs Help Students Forget Finals Stress


Erin Burns

(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)

(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)
(Daily Utah Chronicle File Photo)

The College of Social Work and the Marriott Library will be parading dogs around study areas Tuesday through Thursday this week for stressed-out students to pet.
Jennifer Nozawa, spokesperson for the College of Social Work, said this finals week event has been around for two years to help students relax. The dogs belong to Therapy Animals of Utah, an affiliate program of the national organization Pet Partners. In past years, therapeutic cats have been part of the project — this year dogs will be the only animals provided.
“It’s such a fun event,” Nozawa said. “Students enjoy it. This is something we are very happy to provide.”
She said she sees students physically calm down when they visit with the animals, even if it’s for just a few minutes. Nozawa said it also attracts students from all majors.
The Marriott Library, which also provides therapy animals, partnered with ASUU and Intermountain Therapy Dogs this year. T.J. Ferrill, a U graduate who now works at the library, said he can attest to the importance of this event.
“It attracts a crowd of students, and people soften up right away,” Ferrill said. “It’s a good thing.”
Matt Bourne, a junior in entertainment arts & engineering, said when people play with puppies it helps them forget about their worries.
“It’s a nice break from thinking about finals,” he said.
Carson May, a freshman in exercise and sport science, said, “I’d be down for some puppies.”
Beau Christensen, a junior in entertainment arts and engineering, said he doesn’t know if playing with dogs would help him because he is not stressed about his finals. Studies have shown, however, that therapeutic animals do help lower stress levels and feelings of anxiety or depression. According to a study done by Animal Smart, simply petting a dog can increase levels of oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone, and lower blood pressure.
The Marriott Library will be hosting the dogs on Tuesday and Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The College of Social Work’s event will take place on Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the building’s main atrium.
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