Contact: Meredith Dickenson or Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7654

May 5, 2003

THE DOCTOR IS IN: Therapy Dog Reduces Stress

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Rusty the Therapy Dog Rusty the Therapy Dog

Rusty, an Australian shepherd, serves as a "therapist" for a day to help SMU students cope with the stress of final exams. Research shows that scratching a pet's tummy helps lower stress, blood pressure and heart rates. He's shown with student Linda Louden and his owner Laura Roberts, an SMU psychologist with the university's Counseling and Testing Center. Rusty is a certified therapy dog, having passed basic obedience tests and for being comfortable around other animals and strangers.