ANIMALS

UM Library hosts Pet a Pup to eliminate stress

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Rachel E. Anderson
The Oxford Eagle

The holiday season is not always full of cheer. It can be full of pressure to pass final exams or find the perfect gift.

IMG_0474However, the University of Mississippi Library Ambassadors offered an event to help students and community members relax during this stressful time.

The Library Ambassadors recently hosted the event Pet a Pup in the J.D. Williams Library.

At the event, participants were invited to pet and play with different service dogs from the Cedar Winds Dog Group of Oxford under the supervision of their handlers.

“Therapy dogs are good to give [students] a mental break,” said Jennifer Main, a counselor with the UM Counselor Education Clinic for Outreach and Personal Enrichment.

IMG_0472Main trained her dog Rook, a Shetland sheepdog, to participate in events like these.

He primarily works with children through play therapy, but was able to provide comfort to people of all ages at Pet a Pup.

“Rook is trained to comfort people, provide emotional support, and decrease anxiety,” said Main.

Main encouraged students to visit with Rook as a productive study break.

“It’s good to take a break to get refreshed, so you can go back and be refocused, re-energized and ready to get back to work,” said Main. “Pet a Pup also gives people a great reminder of their pets at home. The dogs trigger a lot of happy memories and responses.”

IMG_0461The event reminded Andrew DeLeeuw, an MBA student, of his dog back in Brandon.

“The most common thing you hear people say here is, ‘It makes me miss my dog at home'” said DeLeeuw.

DeLeeuw attended Pet a Pup to recharge from studying for a finance exam.

“The environment is comfortable,” he said. “It feels like home.”

The service dogs were able to put many students at ease before exam week. For this reason, DeLeeuw hopes events like Pet a Pup will continue in the future.

“It’s a way to take a break from finals,” said DeLeeuw. “Dogs always make people feel better. Everyone likes animals. Having animals totally relaxes people. There are tons of studies that show that pet therapy is the way to go.”

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