Therapy dogs help Wayne State med students de-stress

Therapy dogs help Wayne State med students de-stress

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A Wayne State medical student cuddles a therapy dog (Credit: Fox 2 News) A Wayne State medical student cuddles a therapy dog (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Therapy dogs often visit nursing homes, sick kids in the hospital and patients in hospice hoping to brighten some of their dark days and recently to comfort traumatized kids in Newtown, Connecticut.

"We had heard that it had been used in other places, and so we though we'd try it for ourselves," said Julie Webber.

She is a first year medical student at Detroit's Wayne State University.  In the midst of exams, her classmates are overwhelmed and stressed out.  She thought a few snuggles with some furry friends might help.

"We had over a hundred people here I think today," Webber said.  "I heard people say some really exciting things, so lots of smiles."

"We sit there for eight to 16 hours a day just studying the days away, and we don't have any relief basically from that kind of thing," said Sadnhya Krishnan.

The students got to spend about an hour with the dogs, which were from Dr. Paws Pet Therapy in Farmington Hills.  Terry Seraceno founded the volunteer program 18 years ago.

"It's not only what the dog does for someone, it's what the dog does for the handler, too.  People are coming up to me saying, 'Oh, thank you for coming.  Thank you for doing this.'  I mean, it makes you feel really good," she said.

Gary Donat and his wife adopted Charlie six months ago.  He has three legs and one eye, but that hasn't stopped him from spreading the love and soaking it up, too.

"It would appear he's found his niche in life, and we take him out to visit all over Southeast Michigan," said Donat.

There were lots of smiles and lots of pictures with students capturing the moment when life felt simple.

"The most relaxed they've ever been in this building.  So coming back here to study, the memories that remain from today will carry them through for the next week, the next month, the next year," Krishnan said.

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