Dog days of the semester

Doggie De-Stress Program helps Dixie State University students prepare for finals

DSUDoggieDe-StressProgram4 ST. GEORGE, Utah — Thanks to some four-legged visitors to campus, Dixie State University students are receiving some much-needed stress relief as they prepare for final exams and other end-of-the-year responsibilities. Dogs with International Therapy Animals are visiting the DSU campus Tuesday and Wednesday to participate in the Doggie De-Stress Program and help students relax as they study for finals. “Scientific studies show that when you’re petting an animal, it lowers your blood pressure and helps the mind and body cope with stress,” said DSU Associate Librarian Dianne Aldrich, who organized the animals’ visit to campus. “That’s why we started doing it last semester. It was a huge hit, so we brought it back. Last semester, more than 600 people stopped by over a two-day period.” Each dog has his own personality, and the students go down the line and love on all the pets, Aldrich added. The dogs are all certified therapy animals and have gone through rigorous training. Before they start making visits, the pets are tested to make sure they don’t react adversely to situations they may encounter. Along with their owners, the K-9s visit patients at nursing homes and hospitals and go to elementary schools, where students read to them. Stationed near the library in the lobby of the university’s Holland Centennial Commons, dogs are available for students to pet and love. Dixie State University classwork for the Spring 2016 semester ends Wednesday and final exams begin Friday.
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