Cuddly pooches bring relief to Winnipeg students amid stressful final exams

This time of year can be stressful for the thousands of post-secondary students writing final exams, which is why a Winnipeg college welcomed in a pair of furry friends to help take the edge off.

Booth University College invites furry companions in to school to help ease students through final stretch

Students gather around Claire the therapy dog. (Dave Gaudet/CBC)

This time of year can be stressful for the thousands of post-secondary students writing final exams, which is why a Winnipeg college welcomed in a pair of furry friends to help take the edge off. 

Therapy dogs Claire — a mix of border collie, lab and golden retriever — and Dexter the golden doodle visited with students at Booth University College on Monday in downtown Winnipeg.

"Exam season is always a stressful time, I think all people who have gone to post-secondary can attest to that," said second-year business administration student Zach Marshall.

Dexter took a liking to Marshall early on.

Students give Dexter the therapy dog a scratch Monday at Booth University College in downtown Winnipeg. (Dave Gaudet/CBC)

"As soon as I went up he turned on his stomach just waiting for me to pet him, and it just felt so good. He's soaking it up."

Dexter is six and has been contributing his soothing services as a therapy dog with St. Johns Ambulance for about four years. 

"We're providing care and comfort," said Cheryl Riddley, Dexter's handler. "They're unconditionally accepting of the students, they are happy to get scratched."

Claire gets a pat from a student. (Dave Gaudet/CBC)

Riddley said the pooches help calm students who can get tense during the final stretch. That goes double for students who are from out of town.

"A lot of them who are away from home miss their dogs, and so being able to pet one of our dogs is good for them," said Riddley.

Marshall is away from home studying in Winnipeg and says the curly-haired doodle did the trick.

"It definitely lowers my stress level," he said. "Having the chance to see the dogs, kind of brings a taste from home and it also lets me kind of refocus on studying for exams."

Students give Dexter the therapy dog a scratch Monday at Booth University College in downtown Winnipeg. (Dave Gaudet/CBC)

With files from Dave Gaudet