Therapy Dogs Help Students With Pre-Exam Stress


With the help of some calming canines, stressed-out students at Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and Stetson University get some much needed relief while prepping for exams.


According to NBC29, medical students at UVA were visited by an octet of canines, all part of the school’s Compassionate Care Initiative.   The school wants to  “insert compassion into every patient interaction,” and believes that starts by keeping their students healthy in mind, body and spirit.

Courtesy, Virginia Tech Helping PAWS
Courtesy, Virginia Tech Helping PAWS


“Therapy dogs and service dogs are just such an underestimated part of health care,” added a UVA student.

Virginia Tech also believes in the benefits of pet therapy. Virgina Tech Helping PAWS (Pet Assistance Wellness Program) runs throughout the year, with pet therapy study breaks held at Squires Student Center.

This program extends beyond the borders of the school, providing animal-assisted therapy to local community facilities.  Students, faculty, staff, alumni and their pets visit counseling centers, libraries, schools, nursing homes and assisted living centers in the area.  For more information or to get involved, contact


Making friends at Stetson! Courtesy, PAWS Therapy Dogs

And students and faculty at Florida’s Stetson University love their visits from PAWS therapy dogs! Twelve PAWS teams recently spent the day there, helping students de-stress! They were invited to the library and, from all the smiles on human AND dog, you can see what a difference it made…

Courtesy, Virginia Tech
Courtesy, Virginia Tech



Incorporating stress-relieving therapy dogs and cats, into any student body is time-tested and research approved by many higher education facilities, such as Yale and Harvard. Organizers at UVA call their program the Annual Five C’s: cookies, canines, cocoa, cider and contributions. Donations go to their local SPCA.  We give them a big four-paws up!


If you liked that, please watch: Heal Me –  a story about shelter dogs who become therapy dogs and bring comfort to patients and their families in hospitals.


Lisa Blanck

Writing articles about animals for more than 22 years, she dove into the rescue world with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. As an outspoken advocate for animals, she's covered everything from paws to hooves, fins to feathers. She was the Orlando Animal Rescue and Worldwide Animal Issues Examiner for seven years. She's always thinking pawsitive, looking for ways to improve the lives of animals. She lives with one dog, one cat and one patient human. She welcomes your suggestions and is thrilled to be part of the family!

1 comment

  1. Mongoose218 says:

    Great idea…..suicides among medical students and residents are quite high….whatever will help that is a good thing!

    As for the Nursing Homes and Assisted Living centers, they too would benefit from being around friendly dogs and cats……!

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