Therapy dogs coming to relieve final exam stress

Therapy dogs coming to relieve final exam stress

Mikayla Davic and Natalie Zgurich

Finals week might have students feeling “ruff,” but the senior class has a tail-wagging solution.

Senior class officers have arranged to have several therapy dogs brought to Baldwin High School during finals week for juniors and seniors.

“We discussed this in a summer meeting and the officers were excited for it,” senior class co-sponsor Leah Younkins said.

The dogs will come from the Pittsburgh chapter of Therapy Dogs United, a volunteer organization of dog owners that lends its services to groups in need of a stress-reliever.

Stress levels are high for students and teachers alike during finals, and studies show canine interaction can help people become less frightened and stressed.

“It gives students a way to relax in a positive and fun way,” said Erin Ferrari, a senior class officer who put together an informational packet explaining the idea for administration to consider.

Other schools — from colleges through Whitehall Elementary School — have brought in therapy dogs for the benefit of their students. This will be a first for the high school, though.

“We wanted to do something that no other class has done before,” Audrey Eisel, another senior class officer, said.

The dogs will be in the hallway near the atrium for students to enjoy throughout lunch periods. The exact dates have not been set.

For safety purposes, only a few students will be allowed with each dog at a time and only for a small amount of time.

Students and staff don’t have to worry about these dogs going to the bathroom or being aggressive; the therapy dogs are well-trained, friendly animals.

Eisel said there the senior class will accept donations during the event to go toward Therapy Dogs United.