April 10, 2014 6:30 pm
Updated: April 11, 2014 7:52 am

Therapy dogs relieve stress among University of Saskatchewan students

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Watch above: therapy program aims to relieve stress for students during exams

SASKATOON – It’s exam time at the University of Saskatchewan, that means stress levels are high for students.

A number of St. John Ambulance therapy dogs and handlers are helping students reduce stress during finals.

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“The reactions you hear back are immediate and they thank you so much for caring, thank you for being here, you made my day, I feel better now,” said Dr. Colleen Dell, University of Saskatchewan substance abuse research chair.

According to Dell, research shows pets can lower anxiety and even lower blood pressure. The interaction and attention is doing more than tone down stress in students, it’s helping her research.

“We call it the one health framework; we’re looking at the animals, the environment and the humans and when the three interact, you get some beautiful things, so who can’t smile when you’re getting kissed,” said Dell.

A growing number of universities across the country are arranging therapy dogs to come to campus; calm canines calm students.

“They got their basic commands; sit, down, stay, things like that and then the testing that they do, they call it that they’re ‘bomb proof’, so basically they can do pretty well anything you want and they’re going to be a happy dog,” said Dell.

The therapy dogs and their handlers partnered with a number of de-stressing services at the University of Saskatchewan.

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