8 Colleges That Are Harnessing Puppy Power To Destress Their Students

Written by: Benjamin Moore

June 11, 2015

Anyone who has dogs can testify to their almost magical ability to promote emotional and mental health in their human companions. Indeed, the mere act of petting a dog can reduce stress hormones and produce stress-relief hormones (and that’s on top of the fact that just being around dogs can lower your blood pressure, improve your self-esteem, et cetera).

For all these reasons and more, colleges around the world have employed dogs in the service of destressing students, particularly during finals. It’s the sort of thing that can make a guy really angry, because…well, why didn’t my school have one of these deals? For all the money I paid, I didn’t get to pet a single dog.

Anyway, here are 8 such jealousy-inducing programs:

1. The University Of Central Lancashire

University of Lancashire Guide Dogs

This year, the University of Central Lancashire joined forces with Guide Dogs (a UK organization that provides mobility for blind or partially sighted people) to help destress students AND raise funds for the organization. For a small donation, students were given 10-15 minutes to play with the available dogs.

2. University Of Minnesota

University of Minnesota Therapy Pets

The University of Minnesota’s PAWS (Pet Away Worry And Stress) program allows anyone – not just students – to play with therapy dogs, cats, rabbits, and a famous chicken named Woodstock as a means of relieving stress.

3. University Of Connecticut

University of Connecticut Paws to Relax Dog Program

UConn’s Paws to Relax program holds therapy dog sessions in the library during its finals week, with dogs of all types, including a Newfoundland named Dooley, a German Shepard named Cooper, a Pug named Bella, and an English Mastiff named Vinny.

4. University Of Iowa

University of Iowa Therapy Dogs

While the University of Iowa has a number of destressing activities during finals week – a pancake breakfast, morning and evening Yoga, massages – easily the best of the bunch is the therapy dogs meet and greet. I say that as a completely biased individual who likes dogs way more than all those other things, especially Yoga.

5. Yale Law School

Yale Monty the Dog

At Yale Law School, if you’re feeling down or stressed, you can check-out (yes, like a library book) Monty the therapy dog for 15-20-minute sessions, either by yourself or in groups of four. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Monty’s so cute my head feels like it’s falling off.

6. Kent State University

Kent University Therapy Dogs

According to Kent University, their Dogs on Campus program was the first of its kind, having been established by Assistant Professor Kathy Adamle in 2004. Now, therapy dogs return twice a year to comfort those students who are having a difficult time at school or just missing their pets.

7. UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Pet Hugs

Pet Hug therapy dog events at UC Berkeley don’t just take place during finals week – they take place on the first Tuesday of every month during the academic year. Because let’s face it, it’s not like finals are the only time of year that students get stressed out.

8. Marquette University

Marquette University Therapy Dogs

Marquette University’s therapy dog events – in conjunction with Health Heelers Therapy Dogs – are extremely popular, usually drawing crowds of hundreds. I mean, obviously. Just look at that adorable guy.

Featured Image via Annabel Tiffin

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Written by: Benjamin Moore

June 11, 2015

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