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Therapy Dogs Help Stressed Students

Therapy Dogs Provide Relief to Stressed Out Students

Dogs are one of the many ways that UC Riverside’s mental health outreach team provides a way to students to take a break as they prepare for finals week.

(May 26, 2010)

Students and staff take advantage of the Enlarge

Students and staff take advantage of the "Therapy Fluffies" program offered last spring.

Riverside, CA ( -- It’s the 11th hour of the 10th week of the quarter at UC Riverside and the pressure is on. Finals are around the corner and student’s stress levels are high. Late night studying takes the place of sleep, healthy eating is replaced by quick bites and the fear of failure is pervasive.

To help ease the anxiety and provide relief, the UC Riverside Mental Health Outreach team brought in the big guns – wet noses and wagging tails – as several certified therapy dogs offer themselves up for petting and play from on June 2 on the HUB lawn.

The “Therapy Fluffies,” as Stacey Grady, the Mental Health Educator working in the office of the Dean of Students, calls them are one part of the campus’ Mental Health Day Spa, which are held the Wednesday of the 10th week of the quarter – one week before finals. As well as getting hands-on stress relief, students who pet a puppy also received a dog stress ball and bookmark that provides at-a-glace stress-relieving tips.

“We did this earlier this year and it was highly successful,” said Grady, “We had about 350 students stop in to interact with the dogs.”

In addition to petting a pooch, students were able to take advantage of the services of a massage therapist or chiropractor, and got assistance from the campus Counseling Center, including biofeedback, and guidance from the Stress Busters, a peer education program that helps students develop relaxation and stress management skills. The UCR Student Recreation Center provided healthy exercise options, and students made stress ball with Golden ARCHES peer leaders.

All activities were free to students.

Students and staff take advantage of the Enlarge

Students and staff take advantage of the "Therapy Fluffies" program offered last spring.


The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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