Have you been staring at the same three paragraphs of that unfinished essay for the past two weeks? Don’t worry, snuggle up to a fur coat and watch out for a wet nose — the puppy room at St. Thomas returns.
“Dogs are a natural stress reliever,” said Peter Johnston, third-year journalism student. He was fortunate enough to feel the full, furry force of last year’s puppy room.
This is the second year STU, in partnership with UNB, is holding Dog Therapy, an event giving students a chance at that much needed cuddle during the stress of finals.
“When you’re around dogs your academic responsibilities go out the window and for that short time your sole responsibility is to pay attention to man’s best friend,” said Johnston.
For years, scientific studies have shown that spending time with animals can help manage stress. Still, students don’t need to see the findings to feel the effects. Rather than drop the ball, fall to the bottle or go Britney Spears on your beautiful afro (the one you’ve devoted the past five years of your life growing), cuddle up with a puppy.
From such a common sense idea grew the concept of assisted animal therapy, which has been used in hospitals and retirement homes to help people struggling with their mental health. Since then, the concept started taking hold and the roll of these cute little stress-relievers has only grown. Now we employ puppies all over the world to help people deal with serious social issues, such as veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
You might even find a tiny pug hobbling along the debris of at a natural disaster as official “comfort dogs.”
Since then universities have begun adopting the practice worldwide to help students cope with exam stress. While nothing can completely take away your stress, it’s the little things that get you through the day.
“I like it. I think it really reduces stress. When you see a cute puppy you can’t think about anything else,” said second year sociology and criminology student Michele Maclong.
“That’s all you need, to get away for a little bit then go back to your paper.”
Students are urged to make their appointments as early as possible as the puppy room will only stay open for two days, Dec. 9 and Dec. 10. For those interested, St. Thomas student can sign up for a timeslot at the Student union help desk from Dec. 2-4.
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