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Therapy Dogs Help College Students Deal With Stress

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I think we all agree that puppy-induced happiness is a real thing. I mean, is there a person out there somewhere whose day is not instantly improved after spending time with a pooch? That’s what I thought. Well, now we have confirmation that one-on-one time with the man’s best friend indeed has a measurable positive effect on humans. Or, to be more precise, university students who participated in the study published in Stress and Health.

A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia surveyed 246 very lucky students before and after they spent time in a drop-in therapy dog session. During the therapy, each of the participants was free to pet, cuddle, and talk to 5 to 7 dogs: they also had to fill out questionnaires before, immediately after the session and 10 hours after the event.

The findings were remarkable. Not only that the students who spent time with therapy dogs noticed “reductions in stress as well as increased happiness and energy,” those benefits lasted 10 hours after the fact. But, in a grand scheme of things, this is considered to be a short-term effect, which is why the researchers suggested that the universities provide sessions with therapy dogs to their students in times of increased stress, such as exam periods. Let me just say this: if universities really start having pooches students can hang out with to de-stress, I think that the number of applicants is going to skyrocket.

This is just the latest of the many studies that indicate that the profound positive effect dogs have on us is very real and measurable. Of course, pet pawrents never needed a team of researchers to prove to us that pets make our lives better- I think every day with a fur baby is proof enough.


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