WILMINGTON — Wilmington College students had an opportunity to deal with the stress of this week’s final exams and semester-ending papers and projects with a little help from man’s best friend.
Therapy dogs and other friendly canines were stationed in the Robinson Communication Center lobby where students could drop by for a relaxing dose of Rosie, Sammy, Betsy, Teddy or Ruby.
These are either registered service dogs or ones whose owners were confident their history ensures them to be friendly and non-threatening in normal situations.
Freshman Delaney Wurster spent time both Monday and Tuesday petting the laid-back and affectionate Betsy.
“It’s calming and relaxing, and I like dogs,” she said, noting that exam week can be stressful and a brief respite in the presence of dogs can put a more pleasant spin on the day.
Junior transfer student Angela Hutsenpiller said her former school did nothing like the ‘”Canines and Cookies” activity. “It gets your mind off finals,” she said.
She also returned Tuesday after spending time with Sammy the previous day.
Both said the interaction put them in a more positive mood in which they can go on with their days on a much happier note.
Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and affection to persons in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, hospice and disaster areas. Their penchant for friendliness to strangers and often calm and gentle demeanor has resulted in enhancing relaxation, lowering blood pressure and relieving stress in many.
Finals week on college campuses is known for heightened levels of stress in many students. The College wanted to provide students with an opportunity to take a break from their studies — and anxiety — to experience the calming effect of interacting with these canine good citizens.
Judy Harvey, assistant professor of English and coordinator of the Writing Center, organized the event and wished to thank those that volunteered their dogs.
“I’m pleasantly surprised with the number of students that came this week and how appreciative they’ve been,” she said. “Many students said, ‘Great idea. We need to do this all the time.’”