Therapy dog Quinn and his owner reduce students' stress on campus

Sharen Fisher and her therapy dog Quinn have a special bond: helping people reduce stress. (Image: WTVC)

Many people enjoy the love and companionship of a dog.

Mental health experts say research shows, petting a dog releases the "feel good" hormone, Oxytocin, in the brain.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn surprises the owner of a special therapy dog named Quinn.

They were visiting students at Dalton State College in Georgia.

Sharen Fisher and her therapy dog Quinn have a special bond: helping people reduce stress.

Over the years, the two have made nearly 400 volunteer visits to folks that need a little extra love in their life.

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He's a dog that knows what he wants.

"He goes up to you, puts his head near you and expects you to pet him," said Catie Clinard, an associate professor of psychology at Dalton State.

Quinn, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier certainly lives up to his name.

His fur creates warm fuzzies.

He's visited public libraries, 911 dispatch centers, fire stations and college campuses.

Catie Clinard, is an associate professor of psychology at Dalton State.

She invited Quinn and his owner, Sharen Fisher, to the college's Mental Health Fair.

"They bring joy and comfort to people in terms of stress, especially in fields where there is a lot of anxiety," said Catie.

We followed Catie to the Quad, where Sharen and Quinn were busy meeting with students.

"Oh, oh!" said Sharen. "They brought a camera."

"Stand up Sharen, on behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, I'd like to Pay It Forward. Can you hold out your hand? 1, 2, 3, 4, $500," surprised Catie.

"Oh my gosh!" said Sharen.

"Thank you for all you do in the community, and with your therapy dog work, and thank you Quinn!" said Catie as she rubbed his back.

As Quinn began to swoon the students, Sharen shared what Alliance of Therapy Dogs is all about.

She tells us research shows petting dogs like Quinn, causes relaxation and lowers blood pressure.

"She's just so fluffy," said Dalton State Freshman, Hollianne Wade. She took advantage of the free cuddles.

"I was having a bad day because my car wouldn't start up this morning, so just coming out here and seeing the puppies, it made my day better," said Hollianne.

Seeing Holliane made Quinn's day too. Back rubs are his favorite.

"Oh, do you like that?" asked Hollianne.

"Research shows Oxytocin is released into our systems and in the dog's system when we gaze lovingly at a dog," explained Sharen.

Its why she says Quinn learned this adorable trick.

"Paws up! Say your morning prayers!" said Sharen.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for volunteering? Nominate them here.

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