When you go to a Jesuit college, like I did, there is a serious emphasis on service. Throughout my time as an undergrad at Loyola University of Maryland, my friends and I participated in various volunteer programs. So when I noticed a photo collage in my Instagram feed that showed a bunch of students with dogs, I just assumed that it was a service event. When I read the description, I was surprised to find that the furry faces were those of therapy dogs on campus to help students with the stress of finals week. I was instantly jealous.
According to the campus library’s website, the “stressbuster” therapy dogs were provided by Pets on Wheels for three hours a day on the Monday and Friday before exam week began. While therapy dogs are typically brought to hospitals or rehab centers, this seems like a natural fit to me. Who couldn’t use a little unconditional love during a time of substantial stress?
As someone who spent an hour on the floor with her significant other’s dog this weekend in an effort to decompress, I am living proof of the efficacy of doggy de-stressors. Apparently, this is a well-known fact, since Loyola isn’t the only school providing puppy love as an escape; colleges across the country have been offering therapy dogs sessions for a few years now. Harvard Medical School even has a dog dedicated to the task, Cooper.
Given the concern that colleges have about binge-drinking this time of year, it’s nice to see a much healthier option being provided for students looking to alleviate the stress that exams can bring. I wish the therapy dogs had been available to me when I was an undergrad. Perhaps I would’ve ventured into the world of pet writing even sooner.