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Puppy love de-stresses students

PADS dog Torino sits with third-year psychology and criminology student during SFU Surrey
PADS dog Torino sits with third-year psychology and criminology student during SFU Surrey's De-Stress Fest, Tuesday, Dec. 3.
— image credit: EVAN SEAL / SURREY LEADER

In a sunny corner of SFU's Surrey campus, five dogs lounged, sniffed students and received a constant flow of attention. They were an integral part of the De-Stress Fest held campus-wide Tuesday to help ease the anxiety of students during exam time.

Puppy cuddling was not the only activity on hand: cake-in-a-mug, aromatherapy bags and a Zumba session were also available for students who needed a break. But few passers-by could resist the Pacific Assistance Dog Society (PADS) canines waiting for a scratch behind the ears.

"It's nice to come to relax and just play with the puppies," said Shannon Smith, a third-year psychology and criminology major who shared time with Torino, a Labrador retriever.

"They're absolutely adorable. This one seems to be really calm," she said, petting the blond five-month-old Torino in a momentary escape from her busy study schedule.

Torino's puppy raiser, Kristin Sedore, said she'd seen a lot of smiles from visitors at the school throughout the day.

"There's just something about dogs that makes you forget about everything else," said Sedore. "And it's great for [the dogs] because it's great socialization for them.”

The event was social practice for the PADS dogs as they train for a placement assisting a physically disabled or deaf person.

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