Therapy dogs ease stress of finals for WSU Davis students


LAYTON—The stresses of finals week were put aside for a few hours as students at Weber State University’s Davis Campus got some relief from an unusual source.

Axel, Midnight and Kiara are therapy dogs and the three, with their owners, visited the Atrium on the Layton campus for some snuggles and hugs, something they seemed to relish as much as the students.

“He loves little kids and college students the best,” said Ann Goplen, who brings Midnight to hospitals and schools, where he provides therapy to anyone who seeks it.

The two lived previously in Minnesota, where they visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the University of Minnesota to provide therapy, plus schools that have programs for children to read to dogs and the Ronald McDonald House.

This was the first time therapy dogs have been invited to WSU’s Davis campus, though the Ogden campus has hosted several events each semester, according to Tamara Robinette, a licensed clinical social worker at the counseling center in Davis.

“We didn’t know how many people would be interested since this is a commuter campus,” she said, “but I’m pleased with the turnout – a lot of people were waiting before the dogs even arrived. Some wanted us to have them come at midterms too. We’ll probably make this a regular event.”

Sarah Finneran was one who came to spend some time with the visiting dogs.

“I just finished my finals,” said the young woman who plans to be a dental hygienist, “and this really does release stress – it just went away.”

For Jacob Billerman, a freshman who is taking 20 hours of math and economics classes, it provided a break from the worries about finals.

“Going to college on scholarships is crazy stress,” he said. “You have to do really well or you could lose them. This is a great escape. Dogs are always happy.”

The pressure of getting a good grade is something Kaylee Cross said she feels during finals week.

“The dogs are gentle and warm and comfortable,” said Cross as she moved from one dog to another.

WSU Davis provides 18 full degrees and certificates and offers a full range of services to students. The ratio of students to teachers is 21 to 1. It is located just off University Park Boulevard south of 700 South.

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