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Therapy dogs available for relief during finals week

CSUSM+students+and+faculty+pet+therapy+dogs+provided+by+non-profit+Love+on+a+Leash+during+a+Fall+Finals+%22De-Stress+Event%22+at+Cal+State+University+San+Marcos+in+2014.+The+Moorpark+College+Associated+Students+Board+has+organised+a+similar+event+this+year+for+students+to+relieve+anxiety+during+finals.+Photo+credit%3A+Keith+Edleman
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Therapy dogs available for relief during finals week

CSUSM students and faculty pet therapy dogs provided by non-profit Love on a Leash during a Fall Finals

CSUSM students and faculty pet therapy dogs provided by non-profit Love on a Leash during a Fall Finals "De-Stress Event" at Cal State University San Marcos in 2014. The Moorpark College Associated Students Board has organised a similar event this year for students to relieve anxiety during finals. Photo credit: Keith Edleman

CSUSM students and faculty pet therapy dogs provided by non-profit Love on a Leash during a Fall Finals "De-Stress Event" at Cal State University San Marcos in 2014. The Moorpark College Associated Students Board has organised a similar event this year for students to relieve anxiety during finals. Photo credit: Keith Edleman

CSUSM students and faculty pet therapy dogs provided by non-profit Love on a Leash during a Fall Finals "De-Stress Event" at Cal State University San Marcos in 2014. The Moorpark College Associated Students Board has organised a similar event this year for students to relieve anxiety during finals. Photo credit: Keith Edleman

By Andrew Mason

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Stress-relief dogs will make their way onto Moorpark College campus Thursday, Dec. 15 for all students and faculty to pet and adore.

In an effort to help students alleviate pent up stress formed while finishing off yet another tough semester, “doggy-therapy,” will be available between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the quad outside the Campus Center in an Associated Students and Student Health Center collaborated stress-management outreach event.

President of Associated Students Teresita Rios plans to invite six to seven therapy dogs, from huskies to golden retrievers, as well as provide easy-ups and chairs to to make a peaceful anti-stress environment where students can relax before heading home for the holidays.

The furry-friends will be coming from Love on a Leash, a nonprofit organization founded in the 1980s in the San Diego area that certifies therapy dogs, cats, rabbits and owners who volunteer their pets to provide comfort to those who need it.

A study done at Harvard Medical School by Christine Junge and Ann MacDonald shows putting some time aside for a cuddly friend holds many health benefits for stressed-out students.

“Pets have been shown to lower blood pressure [and] improve recovery from heart disease,” wrote Junge and MacDonald. “Pets also improve people’s psychological well-being and self-esteem.”

Many other universities across the country, including Yale Law School, University of Connecticut, and University of California Riverside, have seen also seen such positive results when it comes to calming down over-worked students with therapy animals that they have begun providing free year-round pet therapy programs on their campuses.

As for Moorpark College, students such as 20-year-old Biology major Alex Flynn have already begun to share their excitement on the Associated Students’ stress-relief outreach.

“I think having dogs here on campus is going to be nice change,” said Flynn. “Sometimes for me Moorpark seems like just a place to study for tests and get good grades, but having a fun event like this, where I get to interact with therapy animals, will be something new and will hopefully relieve some stress.”

If the event gathers a large enough turnout of students, Rios hopes therapy dogs can become a regular stress-reliever that Raiders can depend on come future finals weeks.

Aside from the calming canines, Associated Students and the Student Health Center plan to hold other stress-management events aimed at helping students tackle the aches and pains of Moorpark’s upcoming finals.

Throughout finals week and the week beforehand, Associated Students will offer all the supplies one could need to be successfully prepared heading into their daunting exams. Scantrons, blue books, pens, pencils,and more are set to be available for students inside the Associated Students office in the Campus Center.

The Student Health Center will be providing long time student-favorite stress-management kits inside Fountain Hall on Dec. 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. These kits are comprised of, but not limited to, lifesavers, tea bags, stress-balls and rubber bands.

For those who may have put off studying until just a couple days before the exams take place, Allison Barton, Health Educator at the Student Health Center, confirmed the stress-management kits will also contain last minute stress-relief tips with advice from avoiding caffeine drinks to even squeezing in exercise on the day of a final.

“Parking farther away from your class than usual, walking between classes, or taking the long way between finals are some good ideas that could help [a student],” said Barton. “That kind of physical exercise can actually stimulate the brain.”

Finals week is a battle all Moorpark students will fight together. Whether you’re prepared no sweat or you’re already entrenched in the fight, trying not to lost track of due dates behind piles of unorganized notes, everyone can benefit from free supplies and some time with pooches.

For more information on the stress-management outreach, please visit the Associated Students and the Student Health Center‘s web pages.

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