Study Paws program helps relieve stress

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, December 17, 2015

Last week Longwood University welcomed a wide variety of four-legged friends on campus for their annual Study Paws session.

According to organizer Jason Milne, a sociology professor at the university, the event was an opportunity for students to take a break from exams and enjoy some downtime with local dogs.

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Milne said about 400 students attended the informal event on campus.

“Study Paws is a Longwood University tradition that is designed to provide stress relief to students during the week of final exams,” said Maureen Walls-McKay, director of counseling and psychology services at Longwood.

“Faculty, staff and students bring dogs to campus and students gather to interact. Dogs of a variety of sizes, breeds and preferences participate — some are runners, some are ball-chasers, some are cuddlers,” she said.

Walls-McKay said that during a stressful time in the academic year, Study Paws fulfills the mission of providing students with a healthy outlet.

“A lot of Longwood faculty all brought their dogs on campus for a couple hours to allow us students to take a break from studying for finals and play with the dogs as a stress reliever,” said Longwood freshman Mary Anderson. “It was really fun to see the dogs and see everyone smiling and forgetting about finals for a little bit.”

The event was held on Brock Commons on Tuesday and Thursday last week, according to Milne.

He said there are no rules and the event is quite informal, though all owners are responsible for their dogs.

“We threw balls and frisbees to them and ran around with [the dogs],” said freshman Mallory Martin. “It was a great stress reliever, and it was nice to take time away from studying to clear our minds. What better way to clear your mind then with puppies,” she said.

Study Paws is in its third year at Longwood.