The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Therapy dogs come to BSM for finals

Leo Driessen
These therapy dogs will be in the Wellness Room during student’s free hours to help them destress and create a relaxing atmosphere for studying and relaxing. Pictured left to right: Mystee, Lyla, and Peeve.

Senior Holly Caboti-Jones spearheaded an effort to bring in therapy dogs to help destress during finals week, and four of them will be available to pet and play with in the Wellness room throughout the day. “They release chemicals in your brain, particularly serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. They also help decrease your blood pressure and make you take deeper longer breaths from your stomach instead of through your chest. It also takes the stress out of Finals because you get to look at these happy dogs,” Caboti-Jones said.

Colleges have worked with organizations to bring in dogs during exams for years, but Caboti-Jones chose to bypass the trouble of going to an organization and ask students to bring in their therapy dogs. Senior Elyse Vandersteen and freshman Elizabeth Warner both will be bringing their dogs into school, and a combination of them and their parents will be attending the dogs at all times. “The toys for the dogs are all silent, and having the dogs able to roam around the room will help create an environment that is quiet yet focused, where students can study or take a break from the stress,” Vandersteen said.

Vandersteen’s three dogs Lyla, Mystee, and Peeve and Warner’s dog Bailey were all allowed at BSM because they are small hypoallergenic therapy dogs, so they wouldn’t be distracting or cause anyone to have an allergic reaction. “All the dogs have to go through Canine Good Citizens, get certain vaccinations, and be non-vocal. They have to keep a mellow attitude, can’t be aggressive, and they have to sit, stay, lay down, all on command,” Vandersteen said.

The same dogs will be coming back second-semester exams, but beyond that Caboti-Jones and Vandersteen do not have control over if the finals dogs will be an annual tradition. Please email Holly Caboti-Jones at [email protected] if you are interested in helping out next year.

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Meet the Finals Dogs: Lyla
Meet the Finals Dogs: Peeve
Meet the Finals Dogs: Mystee

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