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Therapy dogs and more to offer relief for stressed students

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Therapy dogs and more to offer relief for stressed students

Students pet one of the therapy dogs at the UGL during finals week for relaxation.

Students pet one of the therapy dogs at the UGL during finals week for relaxation.

Daily Illini File Photo

Students pet one of the therapy dogs at the UGL during finals week for relaxation.

Daily Illini File Photo

Daily Illini File Photo

Students pet one of the therapy dogs at the UGL during finals week for relaxation.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Therapy dogs are returning to the University to help students cope with finals week stress.

The University Undergraduate Library has been bringing in therapy dogs since fall 2012.

Though it took the library a few months to get clearance to host the events, Lori Mestre, professor of library administration and head of the Undergraduate Library, said the events have been  successful in the past.

Eight dogs will visit the libraries, alternating days that they work. Two dogs in particular, Atlas and Maisey, are already familiar with the campus. They’ll be returning for the third time since December 2015.

Instructional Support Specialist Kirsten Feist said the event is a “wonderful” opportunity for students to come and relax before finals. So far, it is expected that around 300 to 400 students will attend the events.

“Currently, 336 people have responded that they will attend on our Facebook event page, with many more indicating interest in the event,” Feist said. “I would imagine that over the span of the event, we will see close to that number.”

According to some researchers, spending time with dogs or other therapy pets can help to reduce stress.

“We certainly see this reflected at the Undergraduate Library, as students’ spirits visibly lift when interacting with the dogs,” Feist said.

The first appearance of the therapy dogs will be on Thursday, from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Grainger Library.

On Monday,  the dogs will be at the ACES Library from 2 – 4 p.m.

The last chance to see the therapy dogs will be Tuesday, from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Undergraduate Library.

Besides the therapy dogs, the Undergraduate Library will also hold some other stress release events.

Coloring books will be available for checkout this week and next week.

Midnight Madness, put on by the Writers Workshop will take place on Reading Day, Thursday, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“This will provide extended drop-in hours for help from the Writers Workshop. The Undergraduate Library will provide extended hours from 8 -11 p.m. for last minute research assistance,” Mestre said.

The Counseling Center is also planning on being in the Undergraduate Library during Therapy Dog hours on Tuesday.

Madeleine Hubbard, Jessica Bursztynsky, Ashley Harris and Sabrina Yan contributed to this report.

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