Students Enjoy Finals Week De-stresser with PAWS Pups

Thursday, May 2, 2013

On the eve of final exams, Saint Joseph’s students took a deep breath and de-stressed with canine companionship by interacting with a dog from Therapy Dogs International (TDI)

Fourteen therapy dog teams attended, with 3-4 dogs per hour available to mingle, and nuzzle, with students. The program was first offered last semester, with more than 500 SJU students participating.

“The dogs brought a sense of relaxation with them,” says Carolyn  Zaccagni, a learning skills specialist with SJU’s Learning Resource Center who oversees the program.  “Students sat on the floor in a circle around a TDI dog and took turns petting the animal to relieve their stress.”

In pre- and post-PAWS surveys, students reported a nearly 50% reduction in the stress they were experiencing. Students said they felt relaxed and ready to get back to studying.  

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