Therapy dogs help students shed stress PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:21
Cuilin Ge pets one of the therapy dogs in the lobby of the Jerome Library the Sunday before finals week at BGSU. (Photos: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
The stress relief experts on campus Sunday came with great credentials - wagging tails, begging brown eyes and long friendly tongues.
The three therapy dogs were brought to Bowling Green State University library on Sunday just as students reached a peak in studying for their final exams.
The canines - a black lab named General Eisenhour, and two golden retrievers named Maddy and Macy - gladly offered their services to stressed students.
"When we bring them in and they start petting them, it just relieves the stress," said John Abbott, of Blissfield, Mich., who brought Eisenhour and who tests the dogs to make sure they qualify for therapy duty.
Zubin Devitre, a sophomore from Cleveland majoring in psychology, zeroed in on the dogs who had flopped down on a rug in the center of the library lobby.
"They are more friendly than most of the people I know," Devitre said.
He was joined by Beverly Vetovitz, a junior from Cleveland majoring in math education. They had been studying at the student union when they heard the therapy dogs were on duty at the library.
"I needed a puppy break," Vetovitz said. "I've been doing math for however many hours."
The dogs delivered exactly what she needed. "The first thing they did was plop on my lap."
The canines seemed oblivious to the high stress level among the students cramming for finals.
"They are always happy. They just love being pet," said Jason Rosensteel, a freshman from Worthington majoring in music education.
Unlike professors, who have standards students are expected to meet, the dogs weren't particular.
"They love you, no matter what," said Anna Flemming, a freshman from Crystal Lake, Ill., majoring in film. "They are just so understanding."
Ivory Price pets one of the therapy dogs in the lobby of the Jerome Library the Sunday before finals week at BGSU.
Like many of the students, Flemming was reminded of her dogs back home - Sadie the cockapoo, and Cora the husky.
"You can't beat the feeling of a dog curling up with you," she said.
Rachel Welker, a freshman from Troy, was also reminded of the dog she left behind when she came to BGSU.
"I have a dog just like this at home," she said as Eisenhour licked her hand. "His name is Rooster."
Chris Gerhardstein, a senior from Columbus majoring in English as a foreign language, was reminded how his dogs used to pull him around on his skateboard.
"I'm just a dog person," he said. "Dogs are a great thing to have here on finals week."
"It reminds you of the kid inside you," Gerhardstein said. "It's good to wake that kid up and let him play."
The therapy dogs were just one of the many stress relievers offered for students during "Finals SOS - Study on Sunday." BGSU also provided popcorn, pizza, hot dogs, cookies and origami.
The dogs proved to be the most popular, according to Lisa Tatham, who works in the administrative office at the library.
"We had no idea it would be so awesome. The kids see them and just flock over," Tatham said. "I think they are a bigger hit than the cookies."
And that is saying a lot when food is outranked for college students, she said.
The dogs didn't seem to mind working on a Sunday.
"They are very needy" and love to be pet, said Nancy Breitner, who had brought her therapy dogs Maddy and Macy from her home in Ida, Mich.

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