therapy dog

Canine companions are stepping in to help Montana State students de-stress as they move into finals week.

Walk into Montana State University's library in the next few days, and you'll be greeted with a furry surprise. Therapy dogs from Intermountain Therapy Animals are bringing peace to students during some of the toughest weeks of the year. It's part of an effort by the library to get students to "Paws and De-Stress."

Mental breaks such as playing with dogs can make all the difference for students with a lot on their minds.

"It's a good way to take everything that's kind of weighing me down and kind of put it aside for a minute," Victoria Royal, an MSU student spending time with Lamar, one of the therapy dogs at the library on Tuesday, "and just be with something that's soft and nice and warm and like, loves you."

Research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showed that brief diversions from tasks can dramatically improve focus in the long run.

"I definitely can guarantee," says Lissa Fields, a program assistant at MSU Library in charge of organizing the event, "that there were a lot of smiling faces leaving here today, and people saying 'That was exactly what I needed. I just needed a moment to relax and step away from the crazy stress.'"

And for students who grew up with dogs, the benefits of the program can be even greater.

"It's kind of like a feeling of home," Royal says of the therapy dogs. "I don't think I'm moving for awhile, and I'm perfectly okay with that."

The "Paws to De-Stress" program will be held in the Montana State Library Commons December 3-14.

Mon 12/3:  12-2 PM

Tues 12/4:  2-4 PM

Wed 12/5:  5-7 PM

Thurs 12/6:  1-3 PM, *3-5 PM

Fri 12/7:  10 AM-12 PM

Mon 12/10:  4-6 PM

Tues 12/11:  10 AM-12 PM

Wed 12/12:  1-3 PM

Thurs 12/13:  11 AM-1 PM

Fri 12/14:  12-1 PM

*in Cheever Hall

ABC Fox Reporter

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