Paws for Stress Relief

Chase introduces himself to Abby Gorton-Tyler during a Pet Therapy session in Coulter Library.

Chase introduces himself to Abby Gorton-Tyler during a Pet Therapy session in Coulter Library.

The tension that comes along with finals week on the OCC campus was broken up Monday by man’s best friend. Therapy dogs were brought to the first floor of Coulter Library, giving students a respite from end-of-semester deadlines and challenges.

A king cavalier helps OCC students relax during a busy final week of the fall semester.

A king cavalier spaniel helps OCC students relax during a busy final week of the fall semester.

Abby Gorton-Tyler, a freshman from Oswego, was able to escape from reality for a few minutes with Chase, a friendly 2-year-old leonberger who said hello by licking her face. “This is great. It’s definitely a stress reliever,” Gorton-Tyler said while drying off and giggling. “I love dogs and pets. They’re awesome.”

A 5-year-old goldendoodle named Marley and her owner Jackie Smithler (center) provide stress relief to students during finals week.

A 5-year-old goldendoodle named Marley and his owner Jackie Smithler (center) provide stress relief to students during finals week.

Mary McMann plans to make pet therapy a bi-annual occurrence on campus. McMann is a licensed mental health counselor in OCC’s counseling department who sees tremendous value in the event. “I’m such a big believer in the healing power of pets. I started talking with Pauline (Lynch Shostack of the Library) about it. We organized this and are planning to do it every semester,” McMann said.

Students experience flavored air from an oxygen bar in the lobby outside Storer Auditorium.

Students experience flavored air from an oxygen bar in the lobby outside Storer Auditorium.

More stress relief was in progress on the second floor of Ferrante Hall in the lobby outside Storer Auditorium. Students could experience the benefits of an oxygen bar, or receive automated body massages while laying down or sitting in a chair.

All of the stress relief events in Coulter were sponsored by both the library and counseling departments. Library staff members also donated hot chocolate for participants to enjoy. Stress relief events outside Storer were sponsored by the Student Association.

Students listen to music while their lower body experiences a massage machine which loosens their legs and helps align their backs.

Students unwind listening to music while their legs are massaged.

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