Midwestern University Offers Therapy Dogs to Relieve Student Stress from Exams

Students enjoy interactions with therapy dogs during finals week

  • AZ - Glendale
  • IL - Downers Grove
Student interacts with a therapy dog.

Students pet the therapy dogs and felt some relief from exam stress. Optometry student Jasmeen Khela said this dog, Milo, reminded her of her dog at home. 

Midwestern University seeks to enhance the overall well-being of students and provide moments of relief from stress during final exams. One of the ways the University creates moments of respite through a stressful week is by bringing therapy dogs for students to pet and play with. This event was held on both the Downers Grove and Glendale campuses. 


Therapy dogs dressed in Valentine fashion comforted students.
Some of the therapy dogs donned Valentine’s fashion as they provided some comfort to students.

The event was put together by Student Counseling Services. Carrie Torgerson, Ph.D., LCSW, Associate Dean, Student Services, Downers Grove, said, “What I love about this event is students from all programs come. They’re laughing and talking to each other at a time that’s highly stressful because of finals. It’s nice to see them let go for awhile.” 

Julie High Horse, MC, Assistant Dean of Student Activities, Student Services, Glendale, added, “I like it when the dogs come in. The veterinary medicine students get to interact with the animals in a nonclinical setting, which is a gentler, calmer interaction. There are a mix of students from several programs who come to visit the therapy dogs, and they see and interact with dogs as well.”


Students expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to take a few minutes away from the typical routine of final exam week.

Optometry student Jasmeen Khela (CCO ’27) said, “I had an exam this morning and one later today. It’s a nice mental break before the next test. If we didn’t have this event, we’d probably be overwhelmed.” Jasmeen added one of the dogs looked like her dog Rio at home. 

Medical student Kelly Konicek (CCOM ’27) said, “Finals week is stressful, and dogs are always fun.” Kelly appreciates Midwestern University holding this event. “It shows they care about the students and their well-being.” Kelly also has a dog named Clark at home. 

Therapy dog Benny is dressed in a Superman costume.
One of the dogs, Benny, was dressed in costume as Superman.

Medical student Stephanie Hermann (CCOM ’24) passed by the event and decided to attend. “I saw Milo (a therapy dog) walking by, and I decided to follow. It’s definitely fun to have contact with the animals. It’s very nice getting to talk to the owners, meet people outside of the medical realm, and get to talk about what’s coming up next for me. It’s great to take time, step away, and this helps students’ mental health.” Stephanie added her parents have two dogs at home named Buddy and Piper.  

Offering students sessions with therapy dogs is one of the ways Midwestern University seeks to support students during their academic careers. The University offers a variety of degrees and programs on both campuses.

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