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University Hosts ‘Paws on the Island’ to Help Students De-stress Before Finals

April 29, 2016

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Therapy dogs came to the rescue of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students stressed out over their final exams during the Paws on the Island event held April 26. The event is offered every semester during finals week in an effort to help reduce student stress by allowing them to sit with and pet therapy dogs.

“There are medically published articles about the interaction of people with animals which say that sitting with and petting a dog will lower your blood pressure and bring down your pulse and level of stress,” said Sandra Heatherley, a volunteer with Paws Up, Inc., the nonprofit that supplied the therapy dogs.

More than 440 students came to the free event.

“When we first started the program, we were seeing between 200 and 300 students and sometimes, we have as many as 700 students, so the event has really grown,” said Jennifer Anderson, Marketing and User Engagement Librarian with the Mary and Jeff Bell Library.

Stations were also set up with stress relief activities such as puzzles, a photo booth, coloring stations and do-it-yourself stress balls. Counseling Center staff were present to encourage students to take advantage of some of the Center’s ongoing stress management resources, such as their relaxation room.

“It’s a great event because you can see that a lot of students really needed this,” said Ryan Harris, a sophomore criminal justice and psychology major. “Being able to interact with these animals is almost like being home with their own pets.”

The event was hosted by the Mary and Jeff Bell Library and the University Counseling Center to support the entire campus community, including students, faculty and staff as they prepared for final exams. To learn more about the University Counseling Center and its services, go to http://counseling.tamucc.edu/.

To view more photos from Paws on the Island, click here.