Dogs bring Barrett Honors students some comfort during finals
Being a university student can be a stress-inducing juggling act.
Classes, studying, exams, jobs, papers, research, and sleep deprivation combine to make life as a college student seem like pushing a boulder uphill.
What's a stressed student to do? The answer may be as simple as playing with dogs.
Research shows that interaction with pets decreases the level of cortisol – or stress hormone – in people and increases endorphins, known as the happiness hormone.
Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, induced some happiness in students by partnering with Independent Therapy Dogs, Inc. to bring four-footed stress relievers – uh, dogs – to its Rest and Relax event Dec.13 at the Barrett complex on ASU's Tempe campus.
The concept is simple – tired and stressed students spend time interacting with trained therapy dogs whose main job is to be petted and cuddled. It's a special kind of animal therapy that's gaining popularity on campuses nationwide including Harvard, Yale, University of California San Francisco, and Kent State, which all have dog therapy programs for students.
"It's amazing that something as simple as petting a dog can help people feel so much better," said Andrea Wells, senior coordinator at Barrett Honors College, who coordinated the Rest & Relax event. "Studies, as well as anecdotal evidence, show dogs' effectiveness in helping people relax, lower stress and function at higher levels. Dogs have brought this unique capability to many places including schools, hospitals and even war zones."