Candace Robinson of New City brought Lola, a Rottweiler, to Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh to help students, staff and faculty take a break from end of the semester stress. Lola, a trained therapy dog, was joined by Shaina, a standard poodle, owned by Susan Dickens of Garnerville. Shaina was handled at the event by Dolores Schaub of West Haverstraw.
The two dogs visited the Mount via the Hudson Valley Visiting Pet Program (HVPP) as part of “Wagging Tails Stress Relief.”
“There’s so many benefits of having or visiting with a dog,” said Schaub. “It’s unconditional love. They live for the moment.”
Research has indicated that watching, petting or talking to an animal can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Interacting with animals can also reduce mental distress, and lower anxiety levels – for example, during final exam times for college students.
Smiling Mount students could not seem to get enough of the friendly furries. There was hardly a moment when they were not showering the good-natured creatures with affection.
“I love petting dogs,” said Linda Abad of Franklin Lakes, N.J. “The end of the semester has been a little difficult and this makes me feel better.”
Robinson said that the interaction was good for the dogs as well.
“Lola loves being a therapy dog,” said Robinson of her loyal Rottweiler. “She loves to be loved, so why not share her with everyone?”
The popular event has become a tradition at Mount Saint Mary College during finals week. “Wagging Tails Stress Relief” was co-sponsored by Mount nursing, the associate dean for academic affairs, the counseling center, and Curtin Memorial Library.