Doggie De-Stressors

Man's best friend came to campus during finals week to help students relieve stress between classes.

The well-trained therapy dogs were on campus for a brief period each day of finals, but it was plenty of time for students to get in a quick pet or hug to relieve a little stress.

"It's just nice to have them there and think about something other than your classes," sophomore Elena Angst said. "It got my mind off finals. You have a 15-minute break, and everyone’s talking about their next class. It got me away from classes, and I just thought about the dogs."

This is the first year Foothill has experimented with the stress-relieving canines, but Amador Valley High School has welcomed pooches during finals for a couple of years.

The Amador principal "said he loved the dogs on campus," Principal Jason Krolikowski said. "The kids gave him a lot of positive feedback and said it’s a great idea. I had never tried it before, but I certainly understand the therapeutic effect of animals. If it helps de-stress one student, then I think it’s worth it."

The dogs are trained therapy dogs loaned for campus use through Valley Humane Society volunteers.

"They brought about five dogs each day," Krolikowski said. "Really, the only opportunity was for break time between the two classes per day. The dogs were there and the kids were able to come up and pet them. They had access to release some stress and anxiety. The kids have been telling me they loved it. They’re thankful we brought them. They definitely want to see it again."

The canine comforters were such a big hit that Krolikowski is brainstorming other ways to use therapy dogs on campus.

"It’s prompted me to think about other times of the school year to bring them along," he said. "Granted, finals are a time of high stress for our students, but there are many times throughout the school year where they feel the same way."

Senior Sashank Sreedar admitted he wasn't too stressed about finals, but was nonetheless thrilled to see the furry companions on campus.

"I thought they were cute, so I went over to take some photos and petted them for a good 15 minutes," Sashank said. "It definitely did help me. I’d been feeling stressed about other things. It made me feel a lot calmer."

"They should definitely keep doing it," he added. "I applaud whoever came up with the idea for bringing dogs on campus during finals week."

Story by Zoe Francis

Photos courtesy of Sashank Sreedar