Henry: Canines as stress relievers

Story by Megan Henry

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Across the country, colleges are having special visitors on campus – dogs.

The four-legged animals are making appearances across the nation and providing college students a chance to relax and bond with animals without leaving campus.

College students get stressed, simple as that. But there are measures a university can make to help relieve that stress, at least for a little bit, and that lies with the happiness dogs can bring people.

SAC does a great job incorporating “study breaks” during finals week and hosting events throughout the year. However, one event I think would have an incredible large turnout, and success rate, is inviting dogs to Baker’s campus. Animal shelters nearby could donate a handful of canines to the campus for a day and charge students a fee to play with the animals. This event could be especially useful during finals week.

Colleges such as Kent State, University of California San Francisco and Emory University all have programs that involve dogs being on campus. Indiana University hosted a “Rent-A-Puppy” day when students paid $5 to have time with a dog from a shelter and could end up adopting the dog if they fell in love with it by the end of the session. The happiness dogs brought to students at these institutions prove that something as simple as a pet can improve a student’s mood and decrease stress.

Not only do these programs save dogs from being euthanized at a shelter due to overcrowding, but also it allows a stressed-out student an opportunity to relax and find companionship. Many students on campus have family pets, and since pets aren’t allowed on campus, this gives them a chance to play with animals without having to commute back home or leave campus at all.

If Baker were to have a “dog day” sometime in the future, I think it could benefit a majority of students and would also help raise money for SAC. Finals are stressful enough, and if this is a way the university sees feasible, I think it could be a great tradition to start at Baker. Not only will the dogs be happy to have people loving them and paying attention to them, but the students will enjoy having an opportunity to cope with separation anxiety from their own pets and relax during the most stressful time of the year.