Southern Utah

Therapy animals visit students at Dixie State

ST. GEORGE (News4 Utah) - Certified Therapy Animal at Dixie State University helped students studying for finals week.

Cassandra Finkbeiner from Kingman Arizona is a DSU Freshman studying pre-med. "It's been a little stressful," said Finkbeiner.

Today her plans consisted of studying and more studying as she prepped for her finals. "Someone was like: Well let's just go to the Holland to go study, and then I saw them ... sooo ..." Finkbeiner said.

"You get so stressed over the end of the semester making sure that you study, and you've got your papers done, and you do your research, and they need something that helps them relax, lowers their blood pressure, reminds them of home," said Dianne Aldrich, DSU's Public Services Librarian who helped plan the event.

Cassandra has two dogs she's looking forward to seeing when she heads home for the holidays, but in this moment she has Riley- a Golden Retriever certified therapy animal. "He's awesome. He's been really calm. I've been here for about an hour," said Finkbeiner.

Therapy dogs are trained to stay calm while allowing people, many people, to pet and touch them. They are also trained to not respond to loud noises or get too excited.

"They have this weird effect on you, as soon as you see a dog, you just feel a rush of like love.

You're just like: 'Ah, that's a puppy, I need to pet it, I need to love on it'. They're not judgmental. They don't care if you have a bad grade in your class right now. They just care if you love on them or not," said Celeste, a DSU Freshman. "So now with the dogs it's a lot more of a de-stress than ... 'oh hi, [laughs] ... hi, I see you'," said Finkbeiner to her new friend Riley.

The dogs will be back Friday at the library as well, from 10 a.m. until 3 pm.

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