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Dog Daze Brings “Stress Relief” During Finals


Rita Langdon,Associate Provost and Director of Public Relations & Marketing
Long Island University, LIU Post

Sophomore Amanda Adragna of Kings Park, N.Y., a speech pathology major, enjoys some canine company at Dog Daze at Hillwood Commons April 25, 2012."Dog Daze" is making its way back to LIU Post on April 25 to assist students who might need some stress relief during final exams.

The program, which brings therapy dogs to campus for the purpose of providing stress relief during pre-finals, returns after an overwhelming response from students last fall.

"Anyone with a pet knows that they just want our love and attention, no strings attached," says Residence Hall Director Caitlin Bjellquist. "This program makes use of that fact, providing a welcome study break strategy for universities during exams. There's real value in having an event where all you have to be is you -- and someone loves you unconditionally for it."

The use of well trained, affectionate and insured therapy dogs for college campuses is a growing phenomenon, and an outgrowth of their use in nursing homes and hospitals. According to Bjellquist, there are a lot of reasons this program is a hit - "but I think a huge part is that our pets don't judge us," she said.

Bjellquist, who put together a similar event while working at another university, reached out to the Long Island chapter of Therapy Dogs International as soon as she arrived at LIU Post. The organization responded, providing a team of 15 therapy dogs for the fall event.

In all, 278 students attended. "It was the best attendance at any Residence Life event in years," said Bjellquist. "Just shy of 25% of all residential students attended, a fantastic turn out for a first time event."

So this month she and the Residence Life Staff and Residence Hall Directors are staging an encore.

Dog Daze Brings “Stress Relief” During FinalsThe event includes an assortment of stress-relief activities, such as silly putty making, coloring pages, sudoku, and a service project – but the main attraction is the dogs.

Residence Life's goal this time around is to have 500 students attend the event -- and leave feeling energized to achieve top marks on their finals, noted Bjellquist.

Dog Daze will be held on Wednesday, April 25 from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Hillwood Commons, second floor.

Posted 04/20/2012

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