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At College of Southern Nevada, therapy animals reduce stress

As final exams rapidly approached, some College of Southern Nevada students took a break and de-stressed by petting therapy dogs and cats.

A partnership between Pet Partners of Las Vegas, a nonprofit, and the College of Southern Nevada lets students relieve stress at all three campuses prior to finals week.

“Petting a dog releases those endorphins and makes you really calm, so it is a great stress reliever during these times,” said Stephanie Villamor, librarian at the CSN Charleston campus.

During the “Love Dog” event in the CSN Charleston library on May 1, student Sydney Werwinsky cuddled with a small, curly haired poodle, Teddy.

Teddy’s owner — or mom, as she called herself — Dianne Woodward, has been involved with Pet Partners for six years. She and Teddy have been a part of the program for a year.

After Woodward adopted Teddy from a pet rescue, he was trained as a therapy dog.

Woodward said she enjoys being part of the therapy animal program because “it makes people smile.”

Pet Partners also visits UNLV, Nevada State College, schools, hospitals and other organizations.

Villamor said the university tries to schedule the animal visits around finals week as students are working on projects and studying. CSN has worked with Pet Partners since 2014, Villamor said. She said the animals give students a break from school and “therapy for the soul.”

“We had a student whose mom passed away from cancer, and this was a wonderful thing for them to not think about that and relax,” Villamor said. “After the October 1 shooting, we had them come and just to help students deal with that.”

Contact Rachel Spacek at 702-387-2921 or rspacek@reviewjournal.com. Follow @RachelSpacek on Twitter.

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