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Dogs ease exam stress at Emory

Therapy pups take students' mind off test anxiety

Admit it. You still have nightmares that you're walking into class ready to take a final exam and you didn't study.

Hoping to ease the tension of finals, Emory University librarians at the Robert W. Woodruff Library are bringing in service dogs for a pet therapy study break the first two days of finals.

Dogs from the Milton-based Canine Assistants, a nonprofit group that provides service dogs to children and adults with special needs, will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Wednesday and Thursday. Students in groups of three will get 10 minutes to play with the dogs. They can sign up online or hope to get a walk-in spot.

The Woodruff library hosted a similar puppy relief program last December after seeing the success of dog de-stressing held at Emory's MacMillan Library. During spring final exams, the library also hosted ice cream breaks where students were treated to a surprise sundae bar among the stacks.

"We're letting the students know that the librarians here are accessible and friendly and we're here to help them and want them to succeed," says Erin Mooney, the library's outreach and education librarian.

Last year's event was such a success that they expanded it to two days this year, says Mooney. And it's nice, she says to see the stressed-out students relax for at least a few minutes.

"The Canine Assistants volunteers are so good about making the students feel at ease and talking about their own pets back home. It's very sweet to watch it happen," says Mooney. "I think it really does help a lot. Just that 10 minutes petting on that dog. All those studies that say interacting with a pet reduces stress and anxiety. You can see that with our study breaks."