Relieving stress and helping students make the grade - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Relieving stress and helping students make the grade

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Finals week can be stressful for many students, which is why at UC San Diego, some special help has been brought in. That help came in the form of dogs and they seem to be doing the trick. 

From big dogs, to small dogs and breeds of all sorts, hundreds of UC San Diego Students took a breather from finals on Tuesday to get to know a furry friend or two. 

"This is heaven because when I come here, I don't think of finals at all. It just helps me relax and when I get back, I can concentrate on what I am doing," said Monica Hedge.

The event is called Therapy Fluffies. Every quarter during finals, about two dozen therapy dogs are brought in from different organizations, including Therapy Dogs Incorporated, Therapy Dogs International and Love on a Leash. The goal of the event is to ease the stress brought on by finals and if you ask the students, they say it’s working. 

"You enter the room and you kind of just forget because you see all these dogs just laying around and then you can go to them and pet them and relax," said Carl Qi.

While the dogs are brought in to help students de-stress during finals week, some of the students say their finals are already done, but they chose to attend the event because it’s an enjoyable experience. 

"Therapy dogs can actually help lower your blood pressure. So what's really great about that with students, is it can really help calm students and also, a lot of students miss their pups back at home so it's kind of a fun way to have a sense of home and community,” said Debbie Kim, The Zone Program Manager

Debbie Kim helped organize Tuesday's event through The Zone, UCSD's wellness program. She says while 800 students took part in the event, The Zone actually hosts similar events using therapy dogs on a much smaller scale  because the demand is so high. 

"The need is definitely here at this university, so it's really great we're able to fit that need" said Kim.

The therapy dog program is held at other schools, such as UC Merced, UC Davis and UC Riverside. The dogs go through rigorous training, which includes teaching them to remain calm when around so many people. 

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