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Canine Visitors Help Students De-Stress At Fairfield University

Four furry friends from Little Black Dog Rescue visit Fairfield University on Tuesday to help students relax before heading into final exams.
Four furry friends from Little Black Dog Rescue visit Fairfield University on Tuesday to help students relax before heading into final exams. Video Credit: Daily Voice
Dogs provide welcome relaxation at Fairfield University on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Cooper helps students relax before exams at Fairfield University. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Dogs from Little Black Dog Rescue help students relax before exams at Fairfield University. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Four dogs from Little Black Dog Rescue visited Fairfield University on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Four furry friends from Little Black Dog Rescue visited Fairfield University’s campus center Tuesday, in an effort to take the pressure off students heading into final exams.

Students converged on the canine quartet — Hunter, Sugar, Cooper and Sweet Pea — as they wagged tails and rolled on the floor, eager for every pat and belly rub.

“All they want is love, and they can get it here. They love nothing more than this,” said senior Kayley Nugent of Morristown, N.J., who has been working with the rescue nonprofit to encourage students living off campus to foster dogs awaiting permanent homes.

Amy Scarella, a former Westport resident who now lives in Fairfield, started Little Black Dog about three years ago, after she found out black dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first euthanized at shelters, particularly in the South.

Fairfield invited the dogs to visit because studies show petting a dog for just 18 minutes can lower heart rate and stress chemicals in the brain, said Phyllis Weihs, assistant director of the university’s counseling and psychological services.

“And it’s a slice of home,” she said. “There are students who are missing home or missing their own animals. Dogs just provide unconditional love.”

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