Therapy dogs brought to the Great Lawn by International Thespian Society

Dogs give solace to students and staff

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Students returning to school received comfort and counseling after the Woolsey fire and Borderline Bar & Grill shooting. Specialists were brought to the Great Lawn Nov. 30 by the International Thespian Society (ITS) with the help of volunteers from Kaiser Permanente. The specialists wagged their tails and rolled around on the Great Lawn as they comforted students.

Therapy dogs owned by Kaiser Permanente volunteers were available to students in efforts to reduce student anxiety. Seniors Navya Hari and Lauren Friedman of the ITS helped organize the event.

“We planned on having these dogs for finals week but after the fires and shooting we decided to have them sooner,” Friedman said. “I just hope that it brings a little bit of positivity and happiness.”

Kaiser Permanente volunteer Mark Mayer brought his Labrador Retriever, Fiona.

“A therapy dog really relieves a lot of stress,” Mayer said. “It’s very rewarding for me, as well as her [Fiona].”

According to the University of California, Los Angeles, Health, therapy dogs can provide comfort, reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

“After my neighborhood was affected, it was nice to have something to take my mind off what happened in the past two weeks,” sophomore Ethan Rinkov said.

Senior Fiona Raab, who had to evacuate because of the Woolsey Fire, also went to see the therapy dogs.

“Petting dogs can be therapeutic because it’s very comforting to people to have that physical affection,” Raab said. “And, personally, it just puts a smile on my face whenever I see a happy little dog.”

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