The tan dog is Bert his owner is Vicki King the other dog is Sophie her owner is Paulette Bennett (Source: Jennifer Grandi)
The tan dog is Bert his owner is Vicki King the other dog is Sophie her owner is Paulette Bennett (Source: Jennifer Grandi)

It’s no secret that finals week is full of stress, as Weber State University students are studying and preparing for their exams they had the option today at the Union Fireplace Lounge to release some of that stress by participating in WSU’s Stress Break.

Students were given the opportunity to be joined by The Intermountain Therapy Animals that brought dogs to help students relax.

Intermountain Therapy Animals want to enhance the quality of life through the human-animal bond. Their motto is “pets helping people.”

The non-profit organization brings animal resources to human needs, they specialize in providing animal-assisted therapy in the areas of physical, occupational, speech and psychotherapies and special education.

Robert Lapine, an Intermountain Therapy Animals volunteer and his dog Murray visited WSU today to offer relief to students through their stress-filled finals week.

Lapine takes Murray with him to bring cheer to those in needs from hospitals, to schools, rehab areas and universities; together they help influence people’s lives for the better.

Lapine said, “The hospital saved my life when I had a major heart attack and this is a little bit that I can do to give back and say thank you, Murray is a wonder dog, he is a unique animal.”

Cindy Yorgason—an ITA volunteer—and her dog Axel were also present at stress break at WSU; Axel is a ten-year-old border terrier that comes from the border region of England and Scotland, he is a hypo-allergenic dog.

Yorgason is a cancer survivor and became involved with the program because she wanted to pay it forward. Axel was with her every step of the journey. They have been volunteering for over three years and visiting cancer patients.

“One of the most rewarding things about donating my time is that I am able to pay it forward with cancer patients and share my story, share what I have learned, and to help them in any way that I can, then I get more friends.” Yorgason said.

Being involved with ITA is a great way to help others and to get involved in the communities in such a special way. This program offers many different ways for those who are interested to get involved.

Judy Curtin—an ITA volunteer—and her dog Ruby have been involved with the program for two years. Ruby is five years old and is a special dog and has truly bonded with Judy over the past few years.

Curtin became involved with the program by bringing her German Shepard to meetings.

“Watching the kids and patients just light up when the dogs walk into the room is so worthwhile, people just open up.” Curtin said.

By being involved in this program, you can help change the lives of others in a way that only a furry friend can.

For more information on Intermountain Therapy Animals please go to http://www.therapyanimals.org/Home.html.

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