Therapy Dogs Reduce Finals' Stress

Some special guests visited campus last week thanks to three inventive students who organized the first ever "Pet-a-Pooch" to help Saint Anselm students de-stress during finals. Throughout the day, Thursday through Sunday, May 2 – 5, therapy dogs of all sizes and shapes stopped by with their owners in tow to hang out, play, and be held by eager students.

“I’m so happy people seem to be loving it,” said sophomore Meagan DiDonato who organized the program with fellow students Gianpaolo Rufo ’13 and Jon Wells ’15.

“It takes their mind off everything and they can relax. It is definitely a good study break.”

On Thursday, Diane from Paws for Friendship brought her three rescue dogs: Mojo, Sarah and Munchkin, a miniature pinscher, toy poodle, and toy Chihuahua respectively. On average 40 to 50 students at a time sat in the North Lounge in Cushing, patiently waiting their turn to hold the small dogs.

Somehow I was lucky enough to hold all three of them. It brightened up my whole week after being so totally drained from biology and french that day, it helped me unwind and relax," said freshman William Endicott.

The rest of the weekend delivered border collies, golden retrievers and Saint Bernards. Students came and went, taking study breaks or stopping-by after a final to pet the pooches.

Students from service societies Koinonia and Teddys staffed the event and the organizers hope these groups will take over organizing this event in the future, making it a tradition during finals.

Junior nursing major Molly McClintock stopped by Thursday afternoon and couldn’t get enough of little dog, Mojo. “It was good to have a brief time to get a little love and get back to work,” said McClintock.

She was only one of many who voiced their appreciation for the program and hoped they would see their furry friends again next semester.