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Ridgewood Students Destress With Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are helping students manage stress during midterms. Photo Credit: Robert Bell
Therapy dogs are helping students manage stress during midterms. Photo Credit: Robert Bell
Therapy dogs are helping students manage stress during midterms. Photo Credit: Robert Bell
Therapy dogs are helping students manage stress during midterms. Photo Credit: Robert Bell

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Dogs are helping students relieve stress during midterm exams at Ridgewood High School.

As part of their Wellness Program, the school has partnered with Bright & Beautiful to bring certified therapy dogs to the school for the students to play with in between exams.

"Wellness dogs and pet therapy are a way to reduce stress," said Robert Bell, who supervises the Wellness Program at Ridgewood High School.

"The positive energy a dog can bring to a group of people is pretty amazing."

Therapy dogs are often used in hospitals and nursing homes, and Bell figured it might help students during midterms.

"The dogs provide that breath of air that students need before they walk into an exam," he said. "Research shows that if you can go into an exam less stressed you do better."

Bright & Beautiful brings five different dogs in for each day of midterms and sets them up in various locations around the school.

When students get out of their morning exams, they have an hour to go play with the dogs before their next exam starts.

The reaction by students has been overwhelmingly positive, Bell said.

"They are asking if we can bring the dogs in every week."

The school would consider the dogs again at other high stress times during the school year, Bell said.

"This really fits into our wellness based model and our push for mental health and stress relief."

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