University Times

Furry Stress Relief

Therapy pets relieve student stress before finals week.

A+Golden+Retriever+was+one+of+many+stress+relief+pets+that+were+present.
A Golden Retriever was one of many stress relief pets that were present.

A Golden Retriever was one of many stress relief pets that were present.

Brian Delgado

Brian Delgado

A Golden Retriever was one of many stress relief pets that were present.

Jenifer Murua, Contributor

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Finals are upon us and stress has taken a toll on students. With papers to write and exams to study for, it is no doubt that students need time to unwind and relax during the last week of the semester.

Cal State LA hosted a therapy cat and dog event at the main walkway on Nov. 28, where four dogs and one cat were available for students to interact with. Students waited in line as they looked forward to spending some quality time with the therapy pets.

Frangelo Ayran, Assistant Dean of Students for Wellness and Engagement, mentioned how “This event happens every semester right around the time of finals. We really want students to be prepared for finals and to be relaxed during the stressful season.”

As a way for students to be more relaxed during these last few weeks, animal assisted therapy shows great results.

“Studies show that petting animals is definitely more conducive for a healthy well-being and state of mind, which is a great place for everyone to start for finals or tests or anything that’s stressful,” said Ayran.

Monica Benson, a student on campus, was happy to assist with the event this year:

“I really like dogs, it makes me really happy when they bring dogs on campus to get us ready for finals week.”

Cal State LA has been working with the animal assisted therapy organization, Love on 4 Paws, for nearly three years now. As a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, their mission is to provide therapy to “children and adults in hospitals, special schools and assisted living facilities to enhance their overall quality of life,” according to Love on 4 Paws.

“To become a therapy team, the cat or the dog has to be very well socialized. They have to pass the evaluation and have their shots up to date.” said Janiss Garza, a therapy cat owner for Love on 4 Paws. “And so does the owner, they must have to have shots up to date too. Especially if going to hospitals. My cat, Summer, was up to date on her shots, I wasn’t. It took us an extra month to get the authorization to work.”

There is a lot that goes into the certification for pets to go work as a therapy cat or dog. They are on duty to make students feel better and relieve stress. However, the animals get exhausted as well. Garza later mentioned that “Therapy animals must do at least three visits per month, and have each visit last one to two hours long.” Even though the animals are on duty, it does not mean that they did not enjoy the love they received from students who stopped. Especially if individuals had some treats for them.

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