Students dogged by stress get help from therapy pups

March 9, 2011 By Kim Lane
Students pet a therapy dog during pre-finals week last spring.

College is stressful, no doubt about it. In fact, a 2009 recent study by mtvU and the Associated Press found that 85 percent of students reported feeling stressed on a daily basis.

And as finals week approach, those skyrocket.

“This is the one time of the quarter when all their exams come at the same time,” said Stacey Grady, the UC Riverside Mental Health Educator. “They are also dealing with a change in their schedule and an increased workload.”

To help UC Riverside students deal with the pressure, The Mental Health Outreach team brings out their No. 1 weapon: Therapy Fluffies, a group of specially trained dogs who know that nothing beats stress better than a lick on the face, a wagging tail and fuzzy hug.

The pups will be on campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 9, offering themselves for some love and petting. The dogs come to campus courtesy of the Inland Empire chapter of Delta Society Pet Partners, a group that trains animals to visit people in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice and physical therapy centers, schools and libraries.

UCR’s finals stress relief program has offered many resources for several years including massages, meditation, yoga, healthy snacks and a campfire night at the bell tower. But none has been as popular as the therapy dogs, said Grady. Last year alone, nearly 1,000 students visited the therapy dogs throughout finals weeks.

Grady said more universities are using programs like therapy dogs to help students de-stress. She pointed to programs at California State University, San Bernardino, UC San Diego and La Sierra University in Riverside as examples.

It’s a win-win-win program, she said.

Studies have shown that animals help reduce blood pressure, stress and anxiety levels. Less stress helps students to be more successful. Successful students stay in school and are more likely to be on track for a timely graduation. This helps universities and colleges that are facing impacted student populations and a budget crunch.

And, of course, the dogs enjoy the sessions as much as the students.

“One of the best parts about this program is seeing students smile and how happy the dogs are to be getting so much attention,” said Grady.

who stop to pet a pooch will also get a bookmark with stress release tips and a dog-shaped stress ball.

“For the sake of your , come and pet a puppy!” said Grady.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

A walk at the mall or the park? New study shows, for moms and daughters, a walk in the park is best

November 17, 2017
Spending time together with family may help strengthen the family bond, but new research from the University of Illinois shows that specifically spending time outside in nature—even just a 20-minute walk—together can ...

Risk of distracted driving predicted by age, gender, personality and driving frequency

November 17, 2017
New research identifies age, gender, personality and how often people drive as potential risk factors for becoming distracted while driving. Young men, extroverted or neurotic people, and people who drive more often were ...

When male voles drink alcohol, but their partner doesn't, their relationship suffers

November 17, 2017
A study of the effect of alcohol on long-term relationships finds that when a male prairie vole has access to alcohol, but his female partner doesn't, the relationship suffers - similar to what has been observed in human ...

Spanking linked to increase in children's behavior problems

November 16, 2017
Children who have been spanked by their parents by age 5 show an increase in behavior problems at age 6 and age 8 relative to children who have never been spanked, according to new findings in Psychological Science, a journal ...

Multiplayer video games: Researchers discover link between skill and intelligence

November 15, 2017
Researchers at the University of York have discovered a link between young people's ability to perform well at two popular video games and high levels of intelligence.

Generous people give in a heartbeat—new study

November 15, 2017
Altruistic people are said to be "kind hearted" - and new research published in the journal Scientific Reports shows that generous people really are more in touch with their own hearts.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.