Therapy dog de-stresses students during finals week at Clarkson University
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 6:26 am



The Clarkson University library has added therapy dogs to its list of stress-busting finals week activities this year. Above, freshman Eli Greenwald pets Rose, a Therapy Dog International Certified golden retriever.

POTSDAM – Students studying for finals can use a little therapy from a good dog, too.

For example, Eli Greenwald had just finished a physics exam Monday morning; a Tuesday calculus exam was just around the corner.

Petting a golden retriever dog in the Clarkson University library was just what Greenwald, a freshman aeronautical engineering major from Manhattan, needed to escape from finals week stress.

"It’s just a good way to decompress,” Greenwald said. “Everyone loves dogs. They’re always so happy. That kind of affection helps all the troubles melt away.”

The library added “therapy dogs” to its list of stress-busting finals week activities this year.

Rose, a golden retriever who is Therapy Dog International Certified, spent an hour with students Monday morning. Students took turns petting Rose, who made eye contact, extended her paws and rolled over for them; it was hard to tell who enjoyed the experience more.

Studies show interaction with animals lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety, improves physical and mental health, and gives a feeling of well-being, Director of Libraries Michelle L. Young said. Therapy dogs are in addition to other “stress busting” activities, such as puzzles and board games, that the library offers during finals.

“We try to help connect with the students,” Young said. “We feel this is another natural piece of the puzzle.”

Rose enjoyed the attention, according to her owner, Joan Kogut of Potsdam, who brings her dog to events on a volunteer basis.

“It makes me happy to see her happy. We’re bringing enjoyment to other people,” she said. “It’s a win-win.”