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updated: 5/8/2014 12:27 AM

Harper College students de-stress with furry counselors

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  • Video: Dogs Ease College Finals Week

  • Katie Livingston hugs Kye, one of the Comfort Dogs on the campus of Harper College to help de-stress students Wednesday before finals.

       Katie Livingston hugs Kye, one of the Comfort Dogs on the campus of Harper College to help de-stress students Wednesday before finals.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Christian Huerta snaps a selfie Wednesday with Zina, one of the Comfort Dogs on the campus of Harper College to help de-stress students Wednesday before finals.

       Christian Huerta snaps a selfie Wednesday with Zina, one of the Comfort Dogs on the campus of Harper College to help de-stress students Wednesday before finals.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Comfort Dogs handler Libby Robertson shows off Kye, deployed Wednesday to the campus of Harper College to help de-stress students ahead of next week's finals.

       Comfort Dogs handler Libby Robertson shows off Kye, deployed Wednesday to the campus of Harper College to help de-stress students ahead of next week's finals.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

Harper College rolled out a stress-free zone Wednesday complete with furry counselors for students preparing for final exams.

The Palatine campus enlisted Comfort Dogs to help students unwind from what can be a busy close to the semester.

"We're here today to give the students some de-stressing time, that's what these dogs are trained to do," said Dan Fulkerson, a comfort dog handler. "We take them to nursing homes, hospitals and schools. We also respond to crises and disasters. These dogs are trained to be petted and to give some people some loving."

It's not the first time Harper has teamed with Lutheran Church Charities, the Addison-based group that runs Comfort Dogs. Harper launched an online course and two-day practicum earlier this year to train handlers for dogs equipped to respond to victims of natural disasters, hospital patients and veterans. Harper plans to offer the in-demand class again in the fall.

Besides the canine companions, students could receive chair massages, stress consultations, yoga, meditation and more as part of Harper's annual Student Appreciation Day.

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