USF Poly Presents “Poly Paws”

As part of an event called “Poly Paws,” Echo the therapy dog will visit the University of South Florida Polytechnic Library May 2, 3 and 4 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. to help students “de-stress” as they deal with final exams.

Echo, a two-year-old German-Australian shepherd mix, belongs to Lisa Zilinski, business librarian at USF Poly.

“Animals can calm you down and relax you,” she says. “A study has found that college students who own pets are significantly less stressed and are less likely to face anxiety and depression.  The act of petting an animal lowers your blood pressure.  Finals week is a stressful time for college students everywhere.  Echo will be available for petting, hugging and playing, allowing students to take a necessary break in their studies and relieve some stress.”

Counselors from the USFP Counseling Center will be available for informal chats and advice about end-of-semester stress. The Student Government Association will provide refreshments.

A therapy dog is trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas.

Zilinski is a member of Love on a Leash, an organization that provides certified therapy pet visitations, promotes the bond between pets and people, and works to increase public awareness of the benefits of pet therapy.

For more information contact Lisa Zilinski at (863) 667-7755 or lzilinski@poly.usf.edu.