Therapy dogs relax stressed students

Madison V. '20, Intro Writer

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On days where everything is going wrong, whether it be a bad test grade or a hectic schedule, there is nothing like coming home to a cuddly dog to instantly improve your mood. Therapy dogs are trained to do just that. In January, two Collie therapy dogs came to visit Olentangy and meet students.

Therapy dogs in schools have plenty of benefits. It can be an exciting and unique way to relieve stress. Seeking out the therapy dogs could provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues with each other. It is also scientifically proven, according to health.com, wired.co.u, and healthline.com, that petting dogs relaxes most people. While some say therapy dogs are a distraction, proof of real benefits show they do more help than harm. It is easier to stay focused with a calm mind, as opposed to a frazzled one, and the dogs would help students stay relaxed. Therapy dogs should be available to students on a regular basis to Olentangy students.

Outlets to relieve stress are necessary in high-pressure environments. Freshman Sydney D. agrees, so she met the Collies when they visited.

“The dogs were incredibly calm and seemed perfectly content to walk around and let everyone pet them,” Sydney said via text message.

Freshman Becky K. is a busy AP student who also has packed track schedules, so she said she would visit the dogs, especially in the time before exams.

Students who would not normally seek help may find it easier to come to the dogs. This creates a safe, relaxed environment to discuss problems. Talking through issues is another way to relieve stress, and this is a place to meet peers who could have similar troubles.

Feel-good hormones released while petting dogs can contribute to stress relief. According to health.com, these include serotonin, prolactin, oxytocin and it lowers the stress hormone, cortisol. Oxytocin is most commonly associated with childbirth, but can also bond people with dogs, as written at wired.co.uk. Serotonin is called the happiness hormone because of its ability to reduce depression and control anxiety, according to healthline.com.

Therapy dogs would be a smart addition to our school. Olentangy Orange already has a therapy Great Dane named Grit who is there regularly. The next step is to put therapy dogs in place here. To help promote the cause, talk to administrators, and bring it to the attention of the students. Students could consider training their own pet as a therapy dog if they are able. Relieving stress is important, and therapy dogs are a great way to relax so that students are ready to learn.