Has anyone else noticed a lack of canine friends on campus recently? While PEARLS did have a therapy dog team visit in Nov. 2021, Meredith College has not had a regularly sponsored therapy dog team on campus in a notably long time, and that is a mistake.
According to the American Kennel Club, therapy dog teams, which consist of a trained therapy dog and handler, “help lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduce patient anxiety and increase levels of endorphins and oxytocin” levels in humans. Not only do these interactions have a positive impact on the people, but they also release excess oxytocin in the dogs. Therefore, both parties benefit from these interactions.
Therapy dog teams have historically been brought to college campuses to relieve students’ stress during finals and other high stress times. In a study published by the National Institutes of Health analyzing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on college students, 82% of students indicated that they had increased stress about academic performance and 71% stated that they had increased stress and anxiety. Therefore, aren’t therapy dog teams needed now more than ever?
By Elinor Shelp-Peck, Co-Editor in Chief