As the end of another semester comes to a close there always seems to be a billion things on a student’s “to-do” list; finish the novel for Humanities class, put together two research projects, study for finals, schedule fall semester classes, look for summer jobs, the list can go on. With a multitude of assignments to finish and future class schedules to plan out, stress can add up pretty quickly, negatively affecting your mood, and even how you sleep. There are many conventional ways to help fight stress, exercise, take a bath, take a break from technology etcetera.
However, the Student Health Center at San Francisco State University has introduced a different and more adorable way to help students relieve stress: dogs. As well as posting online tips about how to deal with stress, the health center has been brining affectionate and tail-wagging dogs from a nonprofit organization called Therapy Dogs. Often, the San Francisco ASPCA has volunteered to bring over their pooches to provide some unconditional love and happiness to stress ridden students. What better way to help ease your worries than petting a furry friend who is trained and certified as a therapy dog. In an article by SF State News (University Communications), health center educator Christine Morley discussed how the dogs can lower stress, “ ‘There are studies about how dogs help relieve anxiety,’ Morley said. ‘Just petting a dog can lower your blood pressure.’ ” Thus hanging out with a dog is mentally and physically beneficial, not to mention that the dog gets some nice company as well. It’s a good mutualistic relationship that any student can partake in. In general, interacting with dogs can have many other benefits to one’s health and social well being. In an article by Jane Weaver from NBCNews.com, a list of studies involving the health benefits of dogs is mentioned in order to empasize the advantageous role of dogs in human life; “In 1995, Erika Friedman at the University of Maryland Hospital conducted a sttudy involving 392 people, which found that heart attack patients with dogs were eight times more likely to be alive a year later than people without dogs, in 1999, the State University of New York at Buffalo conducted a study involving 24 stock brokers taking medication for high blood pressure. The researchers found that adding a dog or a cat to the stock brokers’ lives helped stabalize and reduce their stress levels…” If dogs have the power of helping people live longer and lowering the blood pressure of high strung New York city stock brokers, than they are bound to give you a little comfort and put a smile on your face!
For the end of the spring semester the last day that the therapy dogs will make their rounds is on Tuesday, May 19th. The therapy dog event will be held from noon until 1 p.m. in the gardens directly above the student center. So if homework and studying has got you cornered in a dilemma of stress, then mark this date on your calendar, and get ready to relax with some adorable and care-free therapists.