Exam-stressed students hit paws button to relax

Exam-stressed students hit paws button to relax
Chee Pin Xuan (centre) enjoys a kiss with Jarus, a toy poodle. Constance Teo (left) with her sister Jessica Teo (right) looks on.

SINGAPORE - Jarus had a special job on Monday - mingling and playing with a group of 30 National University of Singapore (NUS) students.

The brown toy poodle was among 11 trained dogs which were providing therapy to the exam-stressed students on Monday.

Organised by NUS Peace, an animal welfare interest group in the university, the one-hour session was the first of its kind.

The dog therapy lets undergraduates unwind from revising for the exams, which start on Friday.

"We were inspired by Harvard and Yale (universities in the US), which offered dog therapy to students for stress relief," said project director Nixon Tan, 22.

Miss Chee Pin Xuan, 19, a first-year student who does not own a dog, let Jarus kiss and lick her face.

"I had so much fun. The dogs were so friendly. And for a moment, I didn't have to think about work," she said.

Only the first 30 of the 200- plus students who signed up were selected for the session, owing to the limited number of dogs.

The canines belong to volunteers from Therapy Dogs Singapore, a non-profit voluntary welfare organisation.

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