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Therapy Dogs to Relieve Student Stress at SBCC Prior to Finals

Santa Barbara City College will launch its third therapy dog event “Check Out a Dog and Lower Your Stress!” for students from 2 - 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, outside the college’s Luria Library on West Campus.   

Partnering with SBCC is All for Animals, a local nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of young people through personal interaction with specially trained therapy animals.

All of the dogs who will be on hand have received specialized training with their human partner from All for Animals and are certified as therapy dogs by Love on a Leash, The Foundation for Pet Provided Therapy.

Local volunteers will give their afternoon to serve SBCC students.

“We've explored many positive ways to support our students as they prepare for finals,” says SBCC Library Director Elizabeth Bowman, "including games, Wii, hula hoops, rocking chairs, even crayons!"

In December 2014, the library added therapy dogs to the offerings, and it was an immediate success and joy to students.

Research shows that interaction with pets decreases the level of cortisol, a steroid hormone linked to stress, in people and increases endorphins, also known as “happiness hormone.”  

Studies also show excessive stress, like the kind students may experience during finals, impairs memory. An activity that relieves stress, such as petting a friendly dog, can improve a student’s ability to retain what they are learning.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Santa Barbara City College for this special event,” said Karen Lee Stevens, founder and president of All for Animals. “We have seen first-hand the calming effect our therapy dogs have on young children who are just learning to read at schools and libraries. When we bring our cute and cuddly canines into a college environment, students will have a chance to unwind and pet our dogs, too. There will undoubtedly be a lot of smiles and laughter!"

For more information on library activities at Santa Barbara City College, visit For more information or to make a donation to All for Animals, visit

Joan Galvan is the public information officer for Santa Barbara City College.

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