Therapy Dogs Help Ease Stress During Finals

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

It's finals week at Southeast Community College in Lincoln and one group on campus is offering therapy dogs to help relieve stress.

Whether it's taking a break from the books, the workplace or even the crowds at some of the country's busiest airports, four-legged friends are being used to help people feel good.

Scientifically, that's exactly what they're doing. Dr. Katherine Zupancic, a professor at SCC, says when people play with animals during stressful times, a hormone called oxytocin is released that makes people happy.

Throughout finals week, Dr. Zupancic and students from the Psychology Sociology Student Club will be in the campus student center to offer free dog belly rubs and hugs.

"There's always that instant gratification," said student Anelle Strauss. "They get really excited and you can just kind of see that happy look of relief on people's faces. It's been a good turnout so far and I think people have been really happy."

The student group is working with Healing Heart therapy dogs, a nonprofit organization based out of Crete, Nebraska that travels to hospitals, nursing homes and schools across the area to help people in times of need.

Students facilitating the event are asking people that stop by to fill out a survey about their experience. If the school decides the therapy dogs are beneficial to students, Dr. Zupancic says they will consider having the dogs back next quarter.

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