HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (September 20, 2013) - Since the spring of 2010, Therapy Partners Inc. has been bringing therapy dogs to the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to provide stress relief during exam week.
"Anything we can do to help students feel better as they balance their multitude of responsibilities, we want to do," says Kelly Cothran, a licensed professional counselor who works at the UAH Counseling Center.
And according to research, she continues, petting an animal "actually increases serotonin and oxytocin levels, which in turn help a person to feel happier and less stressed." What better time to relieve stress than during exams?
But this year, Cothran says they decided to invite the dogs for a visit well before the end of the semester. "We wanted to have the dogs on campus earlier as students start to feel stressed from the semester but before the crunch time of final exams," she says.
So yesterday, Therapy Partners brought four dogs to the UC Lobby to greet students, accept snuggles, and show off their skills:
"It was great seeing students' faces and seeing them put their books down and spend a few minutes with the dogs before going on with their day," says Cothran. And of course, she adds, "we just love the dogs ourselves! Who wouldn't?"