ST. CLOUD - Students at St. Cloud State University had a chance to escape from the stress of the first week of classes Tuesday.

“De-stress With Pets” is a “Healthy Husky” program where volunteers with the Central Minnesota Therapy Animal Association stop by with their animals. The event is scheduled to repeat weekly through October.

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Jeff McMahon - WJON
Jeff McMahon - WJON

Rick Ellis is a volunteer with the organization. He says the dogs bring a little bit of home to the students during the first week of class.

A lot of times they're missing a pet, they're away from home. All of that's just wonderful. And it's all very positive. The thing that I like is when I know that the dog has made a big difference in somebody's life.

Wayne Chmelik volunteers at the association with his Great Dane, Tootsie. He says he knows most people don’t think of a Great Dane as a therapy dog.

I've gotten both of my therapy dogs from a breeder that we knew in Wisconsin. She has the personality to make a great therapy dog. She just is so calm. And she enjoys people. And she just loves to be petted.

The Central Minnesota Therapy Animal Association does a number of educational and therapeutic events at hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and colleges. To find out more about the Association, click here.

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