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Therapy Dog Helps SDSU Students Combat The Stress Of Finals

San Diego State University students studying for finals got some stress relief Tuesday in the form of therapy dog Baxter, a blond cockapoo. Baxter went to SDSU’s Love Library and is one of the ways the college is trying help students during end-of-the school year finals.

“We talked with Counseling and Psychology Services, and one of the things we did was bring in Baxter the therapy dog,” said Gale Etschmaier, dean of library and information access. “When we brought him in, at first the students looked at him and they were a little puzzled, but they stopped and they petted him and by the next day they had been tweeting his schedule and there was a line waiting for him.”

The library is the perfect place for Baxter because of the high foot traffic, Etschmaier said. She said as many as 10,000 students visit the library daily.

Jacqueline Agramonte is in her fourth year at SDSU and took the opportunity to meet Baxter. She said stress over school and finals can be particularly challenging.

“I took a leave of absence once. I had three jobs at the same time and I was tired, but I went to each job and it was fine. But nothing overwhelms me like school does,” Agramonte said. “I can’t really talk about how I’m feeling or else I’ll start crying and breaking down. Because you really can’t think about it. It’s just like, you got to get this done, this done and just go along with it, and it’s very mechanical. As long as you keep your emotions out, you’re fine.”

She likes that the university has Baxter around during finals.

"It kind of takes people out of their minds for a little while and gets them distracted,” Agramonte said.

Baxter and another therapy dog are scheduled to make appearances at the library through next week.

SDSU is also offering meditation and stress management workshops, psychological counseling and free coffee to help students combat finals stress.

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