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Not only can school be difficult, sometimes it’s downright stressful, especially during finals. That’s when Therapy Animals of Utah steps in to help smooth out some of the “ruff-ness” and relieve stress. Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from a few quiet moments with a loving animal; staff and faculty enjoy it too.
For some of the students, a visit with a therapy animal is a breather away from hectic schedules and stressful tests. For others, it is a reassuring reminder of a furry friend they left at home. Petting a calm animal benefits staff and faculty, too, by giving them an opportunity to slow down and de-stress or pause to remember a beloved pet that passed away.
Therapy Animals of Utah frequently provides stress relief during finals at the University of Utah. Our volunteers also assist with demonstrations during the Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) class led by Dr. Janelle Nimer for graduate social work students at the University of Utah College of Social Work.
Do therapy animals really help during finals? They might not improve one’s grade point average but petting an animal has been shown to help lower blood pressure and decrease heart rates.
A number of students say this event is something they look forward to all year. During a recent Pause for Paws at the University of Utah College of Social Work, one student stopped to pet therapy Sheltie Mr. Parker on her way out of class. She melted into a big grin and said “This is the best day ever!”
-Photos courtesy of University of Utah College of Social Work