Romona's Kids: Therapy Dogs

The program has inspired other schools to follow suit. (Source: WOIO)
The program has inspired other schools to follow suit. (Source: WOIO)
The dogs love the attention, too. (Source: WOIO)
The dogs love the attention, too. (Source: WOIO)

ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) - We all know how stressful exam time can be for children, but one local high school has a furry solution to the problem. This week's Romona's Kids are in Rocky River.
Last week, it was midterm time at Magnificat High School, but the anxiety melted away as girls arrived for the day, thanks to some cuddly canines.
"I'm freaking out, but this dog is curing my stress," said student Kellie Downey.
Therapy dogs gave girls the chance to relax, courtesy of the Animal Lovers Club. Senior Meredith Kitzel, who plans to be a vet, is one of the students behind the event.
"There have been a lot of studies that show how dogs lower your stress levels and your heart rate, and just help you relax, so that was part of my research," said Kitzel. "We started with six therapy dogs last year for midterms, then we did it again for finals in the spring, and this is our third time doing it and it's been successful so far."
"This morning I was ready to have a mental breakdown because I was studying Spanish and I have 250 note cards," said freshman Emma McGiveran. "Coming in here and seeing these dogs is helping me a lot!"
"We really have found that the girls are so much more relaxed before they go into their exams, and they just get to giggle and laugh, and be kids before they have to hunker down and take those tests. And the dogs love it, too," said Karen Uthe Semancik, Animal Lovers Club moderator.
The girls share selfies on social media, which caught the attention of other schools.
"I was approached by Westlake High School to start their own therapy dog program, so it's really exciting that other schools are following in Magnificat's footsteps," said Kinzel.

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