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'Dog therapy day' returns to University of Scranton

Each semester ahead of midterms, students are treated to dog therapy.

SCRANTON, Pa. — The University of Scranton called in a team of counselors for students, experts in relieving stress.

"I really just needed to pet a dog and hug them and feel a little warmth," said sophomore Erin Mackay.

Petting a dog has proven health benefits. Studies show it can instantly lower blood pressure. And with the fall semester here, the pressure's on for the university's students, so for one day, professors and staff bring their pets to campus.

The dog therapy was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

"It's something that we all look forward to and not being able to go last year was definitely kind of a letdown, but it's good to be back," said senior Marnie Monahan.

Students are back for a more traditional semester on campus, and that brings with it the traditional stress.

"I have a chemistry test today, and I'm kind of a little stressed. I love to pet my dog at home when I'm at home and before a big test," said freshman Olivia Raineri. "Just take a deep breath and let them take over. They're just so comforting. It's just relaxing, and I don't even know how to explain it."

"Seeing the dogs really grounds you in the moment, and it's just bringing a lot of joy to a lot of people," said senior Fiona McCall.

Grounded on the ground with man's best friend.

"It's really just a nice break between the day, get to see your friends and of course get to see the dogs. I have a dog at home, so it's nice to get that sense of home here as a little stress reliever," added senior Mary Bunone.

The dogs will be ready to relieve stress in the spring semester, too.