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‘Pawsitively’ therapeutic

Stress is a part of everyday life.  We endure it, live with it and learn to work in spite of the pressure.

As the semester at ORU comes to a close, students are working hard to finish strong.  Late nights become the norm, and caffeine becomes the drug of choice.

Thousands of papers are written, reviewed and then rewritten. Hundreds of tests are studied for, and millions of cups of coffee are consumed.

The pressure to do well is high but stress, even during finals week, doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Schools across the nation are embracing a new type of stress relief: therapy dogs.

Even Ivy League graduate schools like Harvard and Yale, have adopted a system where trained service dogs are brought in to help students cope with stress.

Many studies have linked the presence of pets with lower stress levels and better health.

Research done by Jim Blascovich, a noted professor at UC Santa Barbara, has shown that there is a “greater reduction of cardiovascular stress response in the presence of a dog in comparison to friends or spouses.”

According to an article published by the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, “enhanced hormone levels of dopamine and endorphins associated with happiness and well-being and decreased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, following a quiet 30-minute session of interacting with a dog” were found.

Being able to play, cry, cuddle or even just pet a dog can clear the mind and hit the reset button.

By providing therapy dogs, ORU can give students another outlet to relieve their stress in a healthy way.

By definition, therapy dogs are dogs that have outstanding deposition, basic obedience training and an owner interested in doing volunteer community service.

Harvard, for example, has faculty members who volunteer to certify their pups and bring them to school during certain hours of the week.  Others have a resident therapy dog that holds regular office hours and has scheduled meeting times with various students.

Page 47 of the ORU Student Handbook states, “Pets are not permitted on campus or in University housing.”

Although this rule is unfortunate for all animal lovers on campus, it is completely understandable due to allergies and the extra hassle it would be for Housing to keep students responsible for the clean up of their animals.

However, the Student Handbook goes on to say, “Permission for service animals must be obtained from the Office of Student Resources.”

There is hope after all with organizations like Student Association who are constantly asking for student opinions on how to improve the ORU campus.

Students at ORU deserve more interactions with animals than just avoiding goose poop on the way to class and navigating around the rouge squirrel that decides to run between your legs.

Take a “paws” and talk to a SA representative about getting therapy dogs on campus for finals week.

Their offices are located in the Armand Hammer Center.  By talking to students in leadership we have an opportunity to make the changes we want to see happen.

If you would like to learn more about the topic, click here.

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