Therapy dogs help college students with stress of final exams

Feeling stressed at test time is quite common — even among the brightest students. To ease their anxiety, about two dozen therapy dogs visited students at the University of Buffalo.

University of Buffalo Libraries sponsored the two-day event for their students. In addition to the dogs, the test-taking students were given free cups of coffee, tea, bottled water, and snacks. The library staff also arranged activities that are known to reduce stress — such as hosting knitting and drawing classes and workshops where the students could play with Legos and jigsaw puzzles.

The dogs were the main reason that many of the students participated in the two-day event. All of the students were able to pet Bernese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, West Highland Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and a variety of mixed breeds.

Upon seeing the dogs and interacting with them, Kathleen Quinlivan, communications officer for the UB Libraries, tells the UB Reporter, “Their exam stress seems to instantly melt away.”

Quinlivan noted that the dogs provide the students with a sense of calm. Many of the students told her that being around the dogs brightened their day. One student remarked, “There’s really nothing better than petting a fluffy dog when you’re stressed out.”

The UB Libraries have been hosting these stress-buster therapy dog events since 2011. It was suggested by one of the directors in the program. From the start, the program was so positive that is has become expected at final exam time at the University of Buffalo. Students and staff look forward to it each year.

Sources: UB Reporter