Dogs Have Their Day Helping out During Finals

NEWBURGH, N.Y. – December 2015 The end of the semester can be a demanding time for the Mount Saint Mary College community, but a trio of trained therapy dogs provided a stress-busting break for students, faculty and staff on December 8 at the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center.

The animals came to the Mount via the Hudson Valley Visiting Pet Program (HVPP).

“Wagging Tails Stress Relief” featured Shaina, a standard poodle owned by Susan Dickens of Garnerville, N.Y.; Moon, a treeing walker coonhound owned by Deloris Schaub of West Haverstraw, N.Y.; and Gracie, a border collie mix, owned by Amy Mathews of Oakland, N.J.

Though Shaina and Moon have become fan favorites at the biannual event, Tuesday marked 9-month-old Gracie’s first time at the college.

“Gracie loves people and she loves other dogs,” explained Mathews.

Research has indicated that watching, petting, or talking to an animal can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Interacting with animals can also reduce mental distress, and lower anxiety levels – for example, during final exam times for college students.

“The dogs are comforting for the students during this stressful time of year,” explained Orin Strauchler, assistant dean of Student Support Services and director of counseling. “This event makes the students feel a little less tense and tired.”

Mount students couldn’t seem to get enough of the friendly furries. There was hardly a moment when they weren’t showering the dogs with affection.

The popular event has become a tradition at Mount Saint Mary College during finals week.

“Wagging Tails Stress Relief” was co-sponsored by the Mount Saint Mary College Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center and the college’s counseling center.

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