‘Pause n’ Paws’ brings therapy dogs to Edinboro before finals week

Contributed Photo
The Academic Success Center and Counseling and Psychology Services have partnered up to bring therapy dogs to campus since spring of 2013.
‘Pause n’ Paws’helps relieve stress

By Meghan Findley
Lifestyles Editor/Spectator

Edinboro University’s Academic Success Center (ASC) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will be holding their fourth “Pause n’ Paws” on Sunday, Dec. 7 on the second floor of Baron-Forness Library in preparation for finals week, which starts on Dec. 8. 

Pause n’ Paws is organized by Kathleen Damico-Upham, an academic success coordinator along with Dr. Mary Wolf from CAPS.  With the semester coming to close students are overwhelmed with final projects and studying for final exams. It is very stressful to have everything due at once. 

Given the stress that all students are under, the ASC and CAPS came up with a way to help students to relax and what better way to do so than with therapy dogs. 

“Across the country, colleges and universities are finding that bringing therapy dogs to campus before finals can help students relieve the stress and anxiety that they may feel during this time,” Damico-Upham said. 

Not only do the therapy dogs relieve stress and anxiety, but there are also many other benefits to bringing the therapy dogs to campus. 

“Studies have shown that therapy dogs can help improve the health, well-being, and happiness in people,” Damico-Upham said.

Wolf explains why it is important to take some time to relax while studying for finals.

“Too much studying can exhaust one’s brain and be physically and emotionally tiring. Since finals typically create some level of anxiety (stress) which increases the level of cortisol in our bodies, taking a break from one’s studies allow one to relax, rest and re-energize mentally, emotionally and physically,” Wolf said. “Spending time with therapy dogs decreases anxiety so it makes a student better equipped to study and focus after spending time with our dogs.”

Originally, Wolf worked with Dr. Carol Gleichsner of the ASC to organize the first Pause n’ Paws. Wolf is no stranger to Therapy Dogs United. Her dog, Abby, is one of many who work as a therapy dog. 

“She (Wolf) has seen first hand the many benefits that therapy dogs offer to people,” Damico Upham said. 

According to Wolf, Therapy Dogs United is defined as “Dogs Supporting People.” The teams of dogs provide emotional support and comfort to those who come to interact with them. 

“They have a calming effect on people,” Wolf said.

Wolf gives some insight on Therapy Dogs United and what it is like to be involved.

“Our dogs love people and the people we visit enjoy the dogs. So it’s a “win-win” experience for everyone involved. Therapy dog handlers love our dogs and enjoy sharing them with others through our visits. It’s rewarding to see my dog bring happiness to someone else,” Wolf said. 

Wolf encourages students to get organized, write out your finals week schedule and prioritize your studies while preparing for the coming week. Of course, don’t procrastinate and avoid cramming. 

“Dr. Wolf, myself, and the entire staff of the Academic Success Center hope to have the therapy dogs on campus more often, but definitely before finals week each semester. We are located on the second floor of the library, which offers students who are studying a convenient way to take a quick break while they are studying there,” Damico-Upham said.

Meghan Findley is the lifestyles editor for the Spectator. She can be reached by lifestyles.spectator@gmail.com