Pet Therapy Helps College Students Relieve Stress
With homework, exams, work and other activities college life can be busy, and even stressful. But some colleges are bringing in four-legged, furry friends to help students relieve stress during different parts of the semester, including before final exams. Just this fall, schools including Marquette University (WI), Colorado State University, Illinois State University, Emory University (GA) and Indiana University-Bloomington have tweeted about bringing pets to their campuses to help students de-stress.
Sarah DeLone, education program director at the Monroe County (IN) Humane Association, brought animals to Indiana University-Bloomington for animal-assisted therapy at various residence halls, the campus-wide “De-Stress Fest” and other events this fall. She says the visits are informal “meet and greet” opportunities.
“The therapy animals are there for a period of time so that students can just relax in their company for a while,” DeLone says. “The reactions we get from students vary, but are overwhelmingly positive—smiles, laughs, conversations, lots of picture taking, lots of Oohs and Aahs, lots of telling stories about missing pets at home.”
DeLone also has participated in animal-assisted activities at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.
Research shows that a visit with a dog can help ease anxiety and lower blood pressure. So the next time you’re stressed out over homework, exams, college admissions applications or how you’re going to pay for college, spend a few minutes playing with your family pet (or a friend’s pet). If you’re lucky, the college you choose will provide pet therapy during your first year to help you de-stress, too.