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Students 'Paws' from finals with therapy pups

Students with therapy dogsLamar University students are taking a break from their books to de-stress with therapy dogs during finals week. The dogs will remain until December 8 to help students recharge before their exams.

“Nothing can improve your mood the way hanging out with dogs can. They’re so happy and playful,” said Luke Barnett, a sophomore general business major.

All animals will be on leashes in a partitioned area of the 1st floor of the Mary and John Gray Library for students to visit December 7 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. and December 8 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Animals and their handlers are part of the Paws 4 Love Therapy Animals Group and are certified through the Intermountain Therapy Animals and/or Pet Partners.

Students with therapy dogsJudy Ferguson, owner of five-year-old Zoey, has been participating in the event for two years now.

“We originally tried to do rallying, but Zoey was too eager for it,” Ferguson laughed. “Fortunately, we got involved with therapy. We love it, and the finals therapy at Lamar is our favorite event.”

Caitlin McAlister, a senior history major, says she doesn’t own a pet but visits the therapy dogs every semester.

Students with therapy dogs“I have been coming for several semesters now, ever since I found out about it. They’re so cute and fun to hang out with,” she said.

“It gives the students a chance to do something really relaxing at a really stressful time of the semester. How can you be stressed out when you’re cuddling an adorable dog?” said McAlister.

Students with therapy dogsPaws 4 Love is a non-profit local chapter of the national organization Intermountain Therapy Animals that strives to bring animal-assisted therapy to schools, nursing homes, hospitals and other locations across Southeast Texas.