CHAPEL HILL: Therapy dogs bring stress relief to UNC during exam - WNCN: News, Weather

Therapy dogs bring stress relief to UNC during exams

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Brady, a yellow lab, visited Park Library at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication Wednesday. Brady, a yellow lab, visited Park Library at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication Wednesday.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

Final exam time has some UNC Chapel Hill seeking therapy, but not from a person but from therapy dogs.

The dogs are on campus to help relieve stress levels of students, faculty, and staff as the semester comes to a close.

Brady, a yellow lab, visited Park Library at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication Wednesday.

Brady's owner and trainer, Laurie Myer, said usually he’s visiting transplant, heart, and pediatric oncology patients in local hospitals.

He has been a trained therapy dog for two years and has been coming to coming to campus for several semesters. Brady is one of several dogs visiting campus to help ease exam time anxiety.

"I see relaxation. I see a lot of happiness come out,” Myer said. “There are studies about what dogs do to lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety and I think that it’s just that they’re so happy and they don’t carry stress around too much themselves. Not all dogs, but this dog, particularly.”

Samantha Bender, a junior, works at the library and spent a large chunk of the morning with Brady.

She said the dog's happiness and stress-free demeanor is contagious.

“I definitely think it helps to have just kind of a distraction from all the stress you’re feeling and just a little bit of a break from reading and writing. An animal just kind of loves you and wants to know what you’re doing and wants you to be happy. So, it’s great having that there,” Bender said.

Some of the students said the dogs remind them of their dogs at home. Myer said Brady has two college-aged “brothers” at home.

“This reminds him of being with them, so I think it works both ways.”

The therapy dogs visiting the library are trained and certified by Pet Partners or Therapy Dogs Inc.

For cat lovers, some felines are making their way to campus for exam relief therapy as well.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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