University offers therapy dog visits during finals

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 12, 2014 at 3:04 p.m.



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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Students cramming for finals at the University of Illinois will get a little time to visit with canine friends.

The school is having therapy dogs come to several campus libraries over the next few days. Dogs from a variety of breeds, including Goldendoodle and Bichon Frisé, will visit the libraries with a group of handlers registered with CU Canine Connection. The group is associated with Pet Partners, a national organization that encourages social interactions between humans and animals by bringing the animals to public places such as hospitals, schools and nursing homes.

"They love attention. They don't have a mean bone in their body. They're loving, sweet, good-natured dogs," said local dog owner Chris Eliason, who participates in CU Canine Connection with her Standard Poodle, Raven.

The school expects the two-hour dog visits will attract about 100 people an hour, the News-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1soiwOp ) reported.

"We know finals are a stressful time for students. We always look for ways to help them out," said David Ward, reference services librarian with the Undergraduate Library. "It's been a big hit with students."

This is the third fall that the therapy dogs have been at the Champaign-Urbana campus. The program began at the Undergraduate Library in 2012 and has since expanded to the Grainger Engineering Library and the Funk Library.

School officials are aware that some people are allergic or may not want to be around dogs, so they ensure the dogs are stationed in library areas that can be avoided, Ward said. But overall, students enjoy their time with the animals, he said.

"They like the break. It helps them feel more relaxed. A lot of students, as they're interacting with the dogs, will share stories about their pets at home and the opportunity gives them chance to think of their dog at home," Ward said.

Exams started on Thursday and end on Dec. 19.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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