Therapy dogs provided for students during finals week

Sam Banks

The Lydia Olson Library and NMU are partnering with the SuperiorLand Pet Partners, which will have dogs at the library during exam week to help students relieve stress from end of the semester exams.

The SuperiorLand Pet Partners will be at the Olson Library from 6 to 10 p.m. on Monday, April 29 in the government documents section.

The Pet Partners dog teams are trained, screened and certified to visit hospitals, nursing homes and children so that they can provide motivational, educational and recreational benefits to enhance a person’s quality of life, according to the Pet Partners’ website.

“We had the idea to come to NMU during exam week because the dogs are regular attendees at the NMU Health Fair,” said Kelly December, one of the volunteers for Pet Partners. “The response is always positive.”

December said all of the dogs with SuperiorLand Pet Partners are trained to interact with strangers in different situations and welcome petting.

“It takes a certain dog and owner personality to have a therapy dog,” December said. “Our dogs are tested for suitability of the dog and the owner initially and every two years to verify continued ability to be a therapy dog.”

Senior Library Assistant Nora Scholl got the idea when she was at the Peter White Public Library during the Pet Partners Read to Me program, where elementary students read books to the dogs to improve their own reading skills.

“A lot of colleges have done it with different therapy dog organizations,” Scholl said. “I knew the lady who was sort of in charge of the program in Marquette and she just loved the idea of working with college students.”

Students can also relieve stress for exams by visiting NMU’s Dining services during their extended hours for exam week.

Stephanie Raboin, the marketing director for NMU Dining services, said Starbucks will have extended hours all week. In addition to extended Starbucks hours, the Starbucks Lounge will be open 24 hours during finals week.

Temaki and Tea and Smoothie King will also be holding an event called Study-Up all week, where students can study until 9 p.m. and receive a fountain beverage and cup of soup combo for $2.

Melted is also going to have a free fountain beverage with every 400 level Sammie purchase during finals week, while Stone Creek Coffee Lounge and Stone Creek Coffee at Fiera’s will have 12 oz. coffee for $1.

Counseling services are also available for emergency appointments with students who may be overwhelmed by stress during exam week, according to Catherine Greer Cole, a social worker at the NMU Counseling and Consultation Services.

“Therapy dogs may help reduce stress for some students and provide a much needed break from stress,” Greer Cole said. “Although dogs are wonderful, they are not a replacement for healthy self care like sleep, nutrition, exercise and preparation.”