Love was in the air at Thompson Rivers University on Valentine's Day — a healing love.
Hundreds of students, staff and even toddlers from the campus daycare visited BMO Student Street in the Campus Activity Centre to cuddle with a trio of adorable and adoring therapy dogs.
Therapy dogs have been proven to reduce blood pressure and stress, which is an especially common problem during current exam periods.
That's why TRU's Wellness Centre and St. John's Ambulance partnered to provide the weekly initiative.
"It's just fabulous. Everyone's face is lighting up as they turn around the corner and see the dogs here," said Chelsea Corsi, Wellness Centre co-ordinator.
The trained therapy dogs are provided through St. John's Ambulance and accompanied by their volunteer owners.
Chris Redekop, owner of a nine-year-old white Labrador named Ivory, beamed as dozens of people ogled and pet her pooch.
"It's been awesome. So many students have come by and they're right after an exam or right before an exam so it's just the right time for them," said Redekop. "And a lot of these kids have dogs at home but not here so it's a nice comfort for them as well."
Ashley Duggan, a 19-year-old theatre student from Trail, was among those gazing lovingly at Mollie, a golden retriever.
"I love dogs, absolutely adore them," she said. "When we had a break, everybody in my class was out here petting the dog.
"You just feel so much happier."
She added that the pooch break made a noticeable difference in stress levels.
The dog, too, was clearly enjoying the attention.
"She loves it," said Redekop. "She has just the most mellow temperament."
The dogs are trained to have good socialization and obedience skills.
St. John's hires evaluators to determine a dog's suitability before certifying it. Kamloops has nine therapy dogs that are used to visit such places as seniors care homes and kids reading clubs.
The breeds range from a husky to a terrier and even a gentle pit bull named Angel.
Valentine's Day was the first of the weekly TRU Wellness Centre therapy dog sessions happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Thursday.