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Puppy power summoned to help LCHS students de-stress before finals

The power of a puppy is nothing to sniff at.

Snoopy creator Charles Schulz wrote in a 1962 book that “Happiness is a warm puppy,” and on Friday students at La Cañada High School took that philosophy for a test drive, participating in a lunchtime puppy-petting party organized by the ASB.

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A crowd of students swarmed a small pen set up by the North Gym, clamoring to spend a few cherished moments with the furry nuggets inside, provided by Torrance-based Puppies and Reptiles for Parties.

ASB member Olivia Simone played timekeeper, leading groups into and out of the pen. The event was planned for the Friday before finals week to help students take a break from grueling study sessions.

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“It’s a good way to relieve stress before finals,” she said. “Bringing the puppies in, it’s actually really effective. I think it helps.”

Simone and her ASB cohorts may be onto something.

A 2004 University of Missouri-Columbia study showed being around animals, dogs in particular, sharply increases the brain’s levels of serotonin, a hormone known to fight depression and create feelings of well-being, along with feel-good hormones prolactin and oxytocin.

For sophomore Kiana McDonald, pen time with the wriggling, snuffling puppies was a welcome break from studying for finals in French, chemistry, English and math.

“It felt amazing,” McDonald said. “It’s a really great stress reliever with finals coming up. They’re adorable.”

Sophomore Matthew King came back from a field trip just in time to sit with the baby dachshunds, Maltese and “Morkies,” a Maltese-Yorkshire Terrier mix.

“They’re so cute. It’s so fun,” said King, who puts in about four hours of studying each day. “I think they just make people’s day.”

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