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Dogs Offer Therapy to College Students

Final exams can be stressful and exhausting for most college students. MWSU has an unique way for students to relieve stress before the big test.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Final exams can be stressful and exhausting for most college students. Missouri Western State University has an unique way for students to relieve stress before the big test.

It's not something you'd see everyday on a college campus, but here at Missouri Western, this dog is here to help students. Chandler, is one of two therapy dogs who will visit the university to help students relax during final exams. 

"I just think it's a great stress reliever because i have five dogs at home and they just always are there for me. When I'm stressed I just go and hang out with my dogs and it was good to have a dog on campus," stated Hannah Herrick, a student at the university. 

The dogs are apart of Pet Partners, a national group that provides therapeutic pets.

Dr. Melinda Kovacs, a professor at the university also volunteers as a trainer for the program. Kovacs says the dogs offer unconditional love, support and comfort for those looking to take a break

"I have always wanted to try and do this. I know that it works really well, that it adds to the tool kit of coping mechanisms that we all have to have to get through finals," said Kovacs.

She hopes by having the dogs around it will take away tension from students minds and take them to a happier place.

"When you touch an animal, if you are an animal lover there's a connection that will make you focus on something other than the hideous stress of finals and points and exams and essays and multiple choice questions," added Kovacs. 

Response from the campus has been so great, the campus is considering having a dog available more often.

It's something students like Herrick is looking forward too. "I think that would be a great opportunity for students to come by and see the dog and maybe just have that be the best part of their week," stated Herrick.

Chandler is blind and part Australian Shepard mixed with Chow. The dogs will be on campus everyday until exams are completed unless it rains.

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