By Abby Moriarty, Contributing Writer
It is that time of year again — the time where finding an empty seat in Dimond Library can substitute daily exercise for the day and coffee becomes a food group all its own.
Finals week is rearing its ugly head once again, threatening to take students down with stress — until, of course, those furry little ears and fluffy tails round the corner and instantly replaces your anxiety with pure puppy love.
Unless you are severely allergic or make up the small population that does not experience pure bliss when coming in contact with a four-legged ball of love, we can all recall a moment in our lives when a dog has simultaneously melted away the cold barrier that tends to surround students’ hearts during this time in the semester.
But have you ever thought why that is? How on earth can a living being, who does not even have the ability to speak to you, calm people down in a single second by simply letting you scratch behind its ears?
According to a scientific study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, it is concluded that canine interaction benefits humans in many ways while enduring stressful times. Petting a dog alone helps to decrease stress levels, regulate breathing and lower blood pressure, all of which are essential to surviving hours of studying and writing papers.
Contact with canines has also been shown to increase the level of oxytocin, a hormone in the human body that is responsible for reducing anxiety as well as promoting bonding and affection.
The University of New Hampshire is famous for the dog-day-visits provided by Health Services as one of the many de-stressing activities occurring during finals week, but they are not the only university offering therapy canine services.
Colleges around the U.S. are turning to dogs as a way to help relieve final exam pressures for students. In an article published on CNN characterizing therapy dogs as “the perfect medicine” to help students survive final exam week, schools such as Emory, U.C. Berkeley, Columbia and Marquette are listed as just a few of the dozens of campuses partaking in this phenomenon.
“I don’t know what it is about petting a dog, but it just makes me feel better, calmer almost instantly,” said UNH junior Anna Shortell. “I’ve always been a dog lover, but during finals week especially when I’m so stressed and overwhelmed with work just being around a dog puts me in an infinitely better mood; definitely my favorite day at the library.”
With beneficial effects interacting with dogs provides for anxiety ridden students, it is no surprise that a few “study buddies” from Pet Partners and ElderPet will be returning to visit various locations within Dimond Library this coming week. Starting on Monday, Dec. 15, as well as Tuesday, Dec. 16, study buddies will be available in various locations for stressed-out students to spend some time with.
So rather than pull your hair out and grind your teeth, visiting with some pups might be the solution to stop your stress.