Therapy Dogs Help Students De-Stress During Finals

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It's finals week at Southeast Community College in Lincoln and one group on campus is offering therapy dogs to help relieve stress.

Whether it's taking a break from the books, the workplace, or even the crowds at some of the country's busiest airports, four-legged friends are being used to help people feel good.

Scientifically, that's exactly what they're doing. Dr. Katherine Zupancic is a professor at SCC and says when people play with animals during stressful times, a hormone called Oxytocin is released that makes people happy.

Throughout finals week, the Healing Heart therapy dogs will be in the student center on campus.

"There's always that instant gratification. They get really excited and you can just kind of see that happy look of relief on people faces," said SCC Student, Anelle Strauss. "It's been good turnout so far and I think people have been really happy."

The student group is working with Healing Heart therapy dogs, a non-profit organization based out of Crete that travels to hospitals, nursing homes, and schools across the area to help people in times of need.

Students facilitating the event are asking people that stop by to fill out a survey about their experience. If the school decides the therapy dogs are beneficial to students, Dr. Zupancic says they will consider having the dogs back next quarter.