Students use dog to reduce stress - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Students use dog to reduce stress

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -

Finals week can be a very stressful time for college students. But one local university is trying a new approach in getting students to relax. UW-Stevens Point is bringing in therapy dogs.

Meet Slide. He's a two year old golden retriever who loves people and attention.

"Oh how cute is he," says one UWSP student as they walked by.

Slide is a certified therapy dog. He was brought to campus to help students relax during final exam week.

"When I bring him on campus all of a sudden I see these genuine smiles and it puts these people in a completely different frame of mind," Slide's handler, Katie Stern says.

As students made their way from one exam to the other, Slide camped out and greeted anyone that came close.

"People's moral increases, their sense of well being increases," Stern explained.

In fact a study done by Therapy Dogs International confirms that. Research showed that interaction with dogs can reduce stress and increase endorphins, promoting happiness.

For UWSP junior Rebecca Meis, she says happiness is what she needs most during finals time.

"It's pretty nerve wracking, lots of stuff to get done and worried about exams," Meis said.

But after five minutes with Slide, she says she felt better.

"Dogs are always friendly and when you see one it just makes you smile," Meis said.

And Stern says that's what it's all about, "it gives people a break."

So as these students hit the books, anxiety can be high. But, Slide is happy to help any way he can.

Slide will be on the UW-Stevens Point campus throughout the week. He got special permission from the chancellor to be there, helping students feel a bit calmer heading in to those big tests.

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