Windsor’s St. Clair College calls in therapy dogs to relieve stress
By Sonia Koshy
With exam time here, St. Clair College knows stress and anxiety levels are at their peak, so it has tried to create a stress-free zone for students.
During the “de-stress week,” two therapy dogs were brought into the lobby of the St. Clair Centre for the Arts. Students could play with the dogs for one hour and even offer treats to the dogs.
Don Crowder, counselor at the college, said there’s also one hour of quiet per day in another room in the same building, where the lights are down and gentle music is played.
“It’s a place for gentle reflection and recharging,” said Crowder. Phones and food are not allowed during this session.
Crowder said counseling staff and nurse practitioners are also available to help ease students’ stress levels.
“The understanding is that trying to achieve and do well can be stressful, but we try to let students know that we can help them anytime,” said Crowder.
Crowder said that management is the key to preventing stress.
“Everybody faces situations that are challenging but not all situations are negative,” said Crowder. “Part of the exercise is to gain the confidence to manage these situations and certainly seek out and learn new techniques to help manage those situations.”
“That’s really what it takes sometimes for students to maximize all their skills and really achieve to their full potential,” said Crowder.
During the Wednesday therapy dog session, the playful animals brought laughter and smiles to the faces of students – some of whom even skipped class for this.
Morgan Fraser said the programs act like stress busters and helps students like her cope with the stress.
“It helps relieve a lot of my stress because the dogs show a lot of affection and they are loving and calming,” said Fraser.
Throughout the week, goodies like candy and Timbits are provided along with hot chocolate. The movie Elf was also screened for the students at the St. Clair Centre for the Arts.