The life of a student can be very stressful. Between the classes, finals, and other activities, students can easily fall under the weights of pressure and become worn out. Luckily, someone came up with an idea to change this and make both students and dogs happy. Studies have shown that petting an animal can help decrease levels of stress, reduce anxiety and depression, as well as help with the overall well-being.
That is why colleges around the world decided to get the ball rolling (in this case, quite literally) and the most adorable stress relief program was designed that includes none other than man's best friend. The idea behind this project is to help students alleviate the pressure by having some snuggle time with trained therapy dogs, and what better way to swap anxiety for warm fuzzies, than with these programs. There are many benefits of having an emotional support dog for stress that you might not have thought of.
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The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa has numerous free activities during the finals that help students deal with stress in an efficient way. Such activities include yoga classes, pancake breakfast, massages from professional masseuses, as well as various energy boosters in a form of coffee, granola bars, fruits and other. However, one of the favorite study breaks is the meet & greet with therapy dogs. A cuddle session with these adorable dogs has an amazing effect on students, who are lining up for a chance to spend time with these dogs and, at least for a moment, forget about their finals.
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The University of Central Lancashire
Students' Union from the University of Central Lancashire teamed up with Guide Dogs (UK charity for the blind and partially sighted) and organized an event to help students relax during the finals, but also to raise funds for the organization. The students were given the opportunity to meet and play with puppies and guide dogs. The event was a success and judging by everyone's faces, it was a pure puppy stress relief.
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University of Connecticut
Library staff member of University of Connecticut suggested the program, named Paws to Relax, as a way of helping students get a break from stressful finals. Library does not sound as bad, now that dogs are in the center of attention, and not the big books that are screaming exam dates. The program received a lot of publicity, and the students were overwhelmed with new buddies and their wagging tails.
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University Health Services of UC Berkeley partnered up with the Animal Rescue Foundation to coordinate a Pet Hugs event. Berkeley went a step further, since they organize an event once a month, and to be honest, finals are not the only stressful time of the year. These events draw crowds of hundreds, which is no surprise. Just look at that adorable face saying: “Hugs are my jam!”
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Kent State University
Dogs on Campus program was the first program of its kind that was incorporated at a state university. These well-mannered dogs, in a company of their handlers, are ready for lick-attacks as soon as they step on campus, and students cannot wait for every visit. The program gives therapeutic support to university students, who often study away from home, missing their own trusted allies, so it is a win-win situation for everyone.
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University of Minnesota
PAWS: Pet Away Worry & Stress program allows anyone, not just stressed students, to come for a session with therapy animal teams that do not only include dogs, but also other domestic animals such as rabbits and cats, as well as Woodstock, the chicken. The idea behind this program is to serve as a vent for stress release for the whole community at the University, and it has been working quite successfully.
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Oklahoma State University
The Oklahoma State University's on-campus pet therapy program has more than 20 therapy dogs. These dogs, besides making everyone happy, are also great supporters and listeners for students who are coping with some kind of tragedy, such as grieving over the loss of someone close. The dogs' empathy really goes a long way when it comes to helping students feel better, and that is probably because many of them are rescues, who have difficult backgrounds themselves. Together, there is no measuring whose grin is the bigger, the students' or the dogs'.
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