Therapy dogs help studying students ease a little stress

Cory Hurley
Published on April 8, 2014

Danika Bath has a lot on her mind these days, the least of which should be missing her dog back home.

The Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland student is preparing for exams, which began this week at the west coast post-secondary institution.

So when the St. John Ambulance therapy dogs showed up at the university’s library Monday to help relieve some stress for students, Bath took some time to play with them.

“I really like it, because I have my dog at home and I have had her for most of my life,” the La Scie native said.  “Coming here was a big change because she is not here. It’s nice to come in and see dogs again, pet them and play with them.”

Caryn Smith, unit co-ordinator with the program in Corner Brook, said that is often the case with university students away from home. They are at school, away from family pets they had for much of their lives.

She understands the stress behind exam time for the young men and women, so she knows the dogs can be helpful for a bit of reprieve.

“Dogs are known to actually reduce people’s blood pressure and most people are just happy when they see them,” Smith said. “They are determined, studying and a little stressed out. This is just an escape from that.

“How can you not be happy when you are playing with a dog?”

There were four dogs at the library — cuddling with students, doing a few tricks, and loading up on treats.