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Students pause and unwind with Furry Friends

December 8, 2010

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If levels of finals-study tension feel a little lower this afternoon, it just might be thanks to a visit from some special “stress therapists.”

Volunteers with Beach Animals Reading to Kids (BARK) were invited by the Chapman University chapter of Active Minds to bring their canine friends to campus for “Furry Friends for Finals,” an annual event to help lighten the mood as students prepare for final exams. Students coming and going from classes today were invited to donate children’s books and plunk down on a blanket for a minute or two of canine cuddling in hopes of taking the rough edges off long hours of cramming.

BARK dogs usually spend their days chilling in libraries and schools, where their presence in reading programs has been found to have a calming effect on struggling readers. But organizers say their visit to campus was a fun change of pace and doubled as an opportunity to run a book drive benefiting the much younger students the dogs visit throughout Orange and Los Angeles counties.

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