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Stress disappears when therapy dogs arrive


By Mallory Day [5]

BELLEVILLE- Therapy dogs [6]visits help reduce stress for Loyalist College [7]students.

Kayla, Telly, Carrie, Jamie and Mocha were the five furry friends to greet the students on Wednesday.

Arts and Design Foundation [8]student Melissa Manuvl said therapy dogs help her relieve stress when it comes to final projects.

“I’m a huge dog person so anytime I get to spend time with dogs it’s definitely the last thing for me,” said Manuvel. “I haven’t had a lot of exams but I have had a lot of final projects so this helps to soothe me from stress.”

Therapy dogs is a program run through St. John’s Ambulance [9]and was started in June 1992 to help people in nursing homes. Nine-year volunteer Peter Hodgson said he loves doing therapy dogs. “I started it when I was still working and got more involved after I retired.”

“If I put this shirt on, she sees the black shirt and she’s at the door,” said Hodgson. “There are some people who don’t want to visit with the dog and that’s fine. Especially in long-term care you run into some people who don’t want to be bothered.”

Hodgson said there is more interaction with the students because at long-term care there’s a short amount of time. “They try to get the dogs in at exam time for the relaxation and stress relief,” said Hodgson. “I think it helps the students. They seem to enjoy it and with older people it brings down their blood pressure so I think it does the same thing for students.”

Norma Broadvear, a 14-year volunteer, said she thinks the program helps the people more then it helps the dogs. “The dogs certainly enjoy the attention,” said Broadvear. “The dogs have to be outgoing to be a therapy dog.”

The therapy dogs next visit is Nov. 24.

Files from James Gaughan [10].