Therapy dogs help college students cope with stress

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH – College is going to the dogs, and even a few cats these days.

As a professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for 38 years, Mary Jalongo saw her share of students stressed out as finals approached.

Now retired, Jalongo, a longtime dog lover who has researched and written about the benefits of therapy dogs, is doing her part to ease those stress levels. She is among a legion of therapy dog handlers who have put college campuses throughout the region on their itineraries.

Once the province of nursing homes, hospitals and elementary schools, therapy dogs – canines specially trained and certified to interact with people in institutional settings – are going to college.

On Sunday night therapy dogs visited University of Kansas students studying for finals at Anschutz Library.

KU’s Watkins Health Services works with Loving Paws Animal Assisted Therapy Program to bring dogs onto campus – at residence halls and libraries – to help students deal with stress. The Stress Busting Study Breaks take place before and during finals weeks.

Students such as Nicollette Long, an IUP sophomore from Philadelphia, couldn’t be happier to see the dogs on campus.

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