‘Paws on the Island’ Helps Students with Finals Week Stress

Published: December 04, 2015

‘Paws on the Island’ Helps Students with Finals Week Stress

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 650 people took time out of their day to visit Paws on the Island, an event that brings therapy dogs to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to help alleviate stress during finals week. Paws on the Island was held on Dec. 1 in the University Center and was sponsored by the Mary and Jeff Bell Library and the University Counseling Center.

“The stress level in the library is a little high right now,” said Jennifer Anderson, Marketing  and User Engagement Librarian. “Towards the end of the semester, everyone gets a little frazzled and this is a great opportunity to encourage our students to relax and have fun.”

Volunteers with local nonprofit Paws Up, Inc. supplied the pups.

            “Ophelia and I are a team,” said Kat Stolter, a Paws Up volunteer who brought her Great Dane to the Island University. “She loves visiting school. We often visit elementary schools where we let students read to her. It helps with their stress and anxiety because they aren’t reading to a human that could judge them. They are reading to a dog who likes them unconditionally.”

            During the event, participants were invited to sit with the animals and pet and play with them. According to event organizers, petting a dog can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and alleviate anxiety. This is the seventh time Paws on the Island has been held.

            “I didn’t believe people when they said the end of the semester gets really crazy, but now I know it does,” said Jordan Gonzalez, a freshman music major. “It’s nice to take a break from everything and hang out with man’s best friend.”

            The University Counseling Center also uses this event to showcase some of their other offerings, including stress management resources, the relaxation room and one-on-on counseling opportunities.

            “Clearly, students show up to this event in large numbers,” said Dr. Theresa Sharpe, Associate Director of University Counseling Center and member of Paws Up. “We are happy that so many students participate in Paws on the Island and hope they feel comfortable utilizing the services of the counseling center year-round.”

Learn more about the University Counseling Center at http://counseling.tamucc.edu/