For students, finals week can be a particularly stressful time. But students at Collin College experienced a special finals experience as they were able to interact with therapy dogs at the Spring Creek Campus.
“Students appeared to really enjoy the event,” said Collin College psychology professor Jennifer O’Loughlin-Brooks. “Research suggests that students who might not otherwise take much-needed breaks from their exam studies will do so during pet therapy events.”
For two days, students were able to nuzzle, pet and play with pooches of all shapes and sizes. Beagles, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers and more dogs were on hand to help students relax before and after finals. The event was hugely popular, with more than 500 students eagerly lining up to interact with a dog. Volunteers were also on hand to talk about the dogs and how dog therapy works, said Collin College advising assistant Lynne Meyer, who works with the therapy dog group Heart of Texas.
“I visited other local universities with the therapy dogs and thought, ‘Why not Collin College?’” Meyer said. “Through the dogs, I have seen the amazing calming effects they have on people and the smiles they bring to faces.”
The Collin Chapter of Psi Beta National Honor Society co-sponsored the dog therapy project with Counseling Services, ACCESS, Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs and the Honors Institute at Collin College.In addition to providing furry stress relievers, students distributed surveys about the dog therapy. Some of the benefits of dog therapy include improved mood, reduced anxiety and stress and increased physical and mental health, O’Loughlin-Brooks said.
The goals of the animal therapy project were to provide stress relief, promote interest in human-animal interactions and provide Collin College students an opportunity for research. O’Laughlin-Brooks says that due to the positive reception and results, she hopes to hold a Dog Days of Finals event every semester.