Therapy dogs ease stress during finals week

Nikki Howard, left, of Des Moines watches Erin Bellefeuille of Lakeville, Minn., pet Lainy the therapy dog.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Shopping, gift-wrapping, cooking, writing letters, decorating: No wonder the holiday can be stressful. Add in college finals and planning a trip home and you can imagine how stressed students are.

Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, tried something different this year to ease students' stress.

Three Pet K9 STARS therapy dogs visited students at the Bishop Mueller Library on campus. The visit was Wednesday afternoon, midway through finals week.

“This is our first time having the therapy dogs as guests in the library. It was a blast,” said Julius Fleschner, Briar Cliff's interim director of library and information services.

Students got on the floor to hug, cuddle, pet and kiss the dogs.

“Students seemed to have loved the dogs. My favorite moment of the event was watching them pet the animals. Many of them had a wonderful look of relief,” Fleschner said. “Knowing that we could be a part in making their finals week less stressful was very rewarding.”

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