Therapy dogs help students relieve stress ahead of midterms
With midterms here and stress building up, the Del Mar College Counseling Center decided to team up with Paws Up Inc. to put on a two-hour event called “PAWsitively Prevent Midterm Meltdown.”
“We’re giving the students a chance to relax and enjoy the therapy dogs,” lead counselor Rita Hernandez said at the Oct. 10 event.
Four nationally registered therapy dogs were in Conference Room 1of the Harvin Center ready to help students, faculty and staff unwind. They hit West Campus the following day.
“From what I’ve heard from anyone that has stress and anxiety says that just from petting our dogs everything seems to just go onto these dogs, which is why they are so tired when they get home and they just want to sleep,” said Stephanie Orona, trainer of 6-year-old rescued lab Savannah.
“Most of the dogs are rescues,” Orona said. “We do a six-week class, and training, and we have to re-up every two years. And this is what they are trained to do. They sit here and you pet them and with just that you feel a little bit of weight has been lifted.”
As well as having the therapy dogs being available to students to pet, the Counseling Center provided other resources to de-stress.
“The counselors are offering other stress-relieving activities,” Hernandez said. “We’ve got Play-Doh aroma-therapy essential oils that students will be able to take with them, coloring and we have free anxiety screenings that students take with our counselors.”
The free confidential anxiety screening consisted of 21 questions and took about five minuets. The test is scaled based on physiological symptoms to emotional symptoms, which then were scored, and the counselors then would tell if anxiety was mild to severe.
Counselors were there to help with immediate coping scales or appointments could be made to discuss how to deal with your stress.
“Awareness of mental health issues and of course prevention of midterm meltdown and make students aware of our services so that they know that help and support is available to them,” Hernandez said of the center’s goal.