Therapy dogs relieve exam related stress for students during finals week

By Mandi Enger

Expanding support activities for students between final exams, the Marydean Martin Library and the Nevada State Student Alliance (NSSA) partnered with Love Dog Adventures to bring therapy dogs to the Nevada State College (NSC) campus. Organized in the library on Monday, May 6, students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to take a short break from their schedules to relax and de-stress with LDA dogs.

According to Sue Grundfest of LDA, research has shown that petting a dog can lower blood pressure, steady a heart rate, and provide individuals with both emotional and physical benefits. During our two hour visit, the students and staff at NSC truly realized how the healing power of the pets gave them a much needed break, she commented.

Grundfest was accompanied during the event by her two poodles, Kirby and Benny. Campus visitors also included Tucker, a yellow lab; Layla, a Border Collie; Dash, an Italian Greyhound; and Boise, a Golden. Each pet was joined by their individual owner.

The Love Dog team consists exclusively of therapy teams registered with Delta Pet Partners and provides animal assisted therapy to those in need throughout the valley. Comprised of rigorously trained pet handlers and pets, the organization partners with long-term care facilities, multiply challenged youth and adults, children on the autism spectrum, educational facilities and other populations on a regular basis.

The full team currently includes 30 dogs, two cats, and one guinea pig. NSC is the first college to be visited by the group.

Providing students with unique stress relieving activities, such as pet therapy, is a growing trend for colleges and universities across the nation, said Ernesto Hernandez, Emerging Technologies Librarian at NSC. We are so thankful that Love Dog Adventures could help our students, faculty, and staff members take a mental break during the start of a typically stressful week.

Over the last several years, NSC has supported students throughout finals week by providing grab-and-go snacks, breakfasts, and lunches in the lobby of each campus building. Moving forward, NSC and LDA plan to add pet therapy to the week's roster of events.

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