Therapy dogs calm stressed-out McGill students
Published Saturday, December 8, 2012 2:43PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 8, 2012 6:50PM EST
It's crunch time for Quebec university students.
As final exams are being written at campuses across the province, many students are feeling stressed out.
Because the exam period can be so stressful, McGill is trying relieve some of the pressure – and they’re doing it with the help of man's best friend.
Therapy dogs from Therapeutic Paws of Canada are at McGill until the end of next week, visiting students at the residences and the student union building, helping students cope.
“At this time of the year, the stress level of our students is enormous. And so we just constantly try to think of things and ways that our students can learn better,” said Colleen Cook, McGill's Trenholme Dean of Libraries.
Intense focus turns to ear-to-ear grins as students look up from their books and take a short break. Just 15 minutes sitting on the floor, petting a furry friend can help reboot a tired brain.
“It's well recognized through studies now that they are calming; that they help in healing. That, just that connection been dogs and human beings is very important,” said Cook.
The dogs are trained to behave properly for this kind of de-stressing work - but the real impact they have on the students comes from just being a dog.
“They need to have good stable temperaments, be basically good social dogs, be very interested in people and that's something that comes naturally to a lot of dogs,” said said Harriet Schleifer of Therapeutic Paws of Canada.
Student Sonya Molyneux said the program has accomplished its goal.
“At McGill, everything's so high strung, so it really helps out, especially with anyone who's got multiple exams on the same days. It makes a good study break for everyone,” she said.