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04/19/2013

Therapy Dogs Ready to Help Students Monday to Reduce Exam Stress

Quick Facts

 The Therapy Dogs Inc. teams will be working their tail-wagging magic from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Community Concourse between the West Center and the DiGiorgio Campus Center. Exams start Wednesday for students and continue through April 30.
 Therapy Dogs Inc. is a non-profit, national organization with over 12,000 volunteer handler/dog teams certified in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories.

ROCK HILL, S.C. – With exams beginning next week for Winthrop University students, a pack of certified therapy dogs will be on campus Monday, April 22 to assist in reducing stress for students, staff and faculty.

The Therapy Dogs Inc. teams will be working their tail-wagging magic from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Community Concourse between the West Center and the DiGiorgio Campus Center. Exams start Wednesday for students and continue through April 30.

"It's great when universities recognize the immediate benefits to students that therapy dogs offer in times of extreme stress such as finals,” said Gail K. Warner of Therapy Dogs Inc. “It has been proven time and again in clinical studies that exposure to pets during times of stress can reduce blood pressure and trigger endorphins, which in turn negate the negative physical and emotional toll that stress can take on people young and old.

“Our dogs and handlers enjoy the interaction with students who are often not only stressed over finals, but also missing the pets they have left behind at home while away at school,” she said.

Rosie Hopkins-Campbell, coordinator for campus wellness, said that finals for students often bring higher levels of stress.

The De-Stressing the Testing event consists of a variety of activities to help students manage and reduce the stress often associated with finals. The Student Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT) is a Winthrop student organization comprised of nationally certified peer health educators. The team will provide stress balls to students as a way to cope with stress, pencils to help students prepare for testing, and information about drop-in tutoring through the Academic Success Center for students who need help with specific subject areas.

Michelle Wolf, director of the Academic Success Center added that the university looks for ways to ensure that students have unique opportunities to take a much-needed break during finals and throughout the school year. “It's critically important for them to begin to build habits of work/life balance,” Wolf said. “Events such as this one also broaden their experience while on campus and hopefully inspire students, staff, and faculty alike to engage in opportunities with the center.”

Therapy Dogs Inc. is a non-profit, national organization with over 12,000 volunteer handler/dog teams certified in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories.

Therapy Dogs Inc. certifies and insurances members who are involved in volunteer animal-assisted activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, visits to hospitals, special needs centers, schools, and elder care facilities. The objective of the organization is to form a network of caring individuals who are willing to share their special animals in order to bring happiness and cheer to people, young and old alike.

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