Are the upcoming holidays stressing you out? Petting a dog may help. To get a break from studying for finals and relieve some stress before the holiday break, Drexel University students got to visit with some furry friends on Dec. 2. More than 550 students stopped by to spend time with a handful of certified therapy dogs at the annual Puppy Pawlooza.
The event, hosted by Drexel’s Campus Activities Board, LeBow College of Business, Active Minds at Drexel and the University’s Peer Counseling Helpline, has become an annual tradition since it launched a few years ago.
Studies show that interactions with therapy dogs can decrease stress in humans by boosting the levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and lowering production of the stress hormone cortisol. As a result, a growing number of colleges across the country are hosting pet therapy programs with registered therapy dogs to help students during periods of peak stress.
Drexel was among the first universities to realize the benefits of pet therapy and introduced an on-site therapy dog in 2014. The University’s Rec Center now hosts two therapy dogs: Chai and her almost 2-year-old daughter, Essie. Chai and Essie are on campus for 10 hours each week.