The University of Houston is abuzz with end-of-semester prep. Students are gearing up to finish strong, and the pressure to ace those finals can be overwhelming. A nuzzle from a furry friend can help.
Local organization Faithful Paws will bring certified therapy dogs to the MD Anderson Library for four days of stress relief this month. Students are encouraged to drop in for petting, snuggling and treat-feeding with these gentle and friendly canines, which can have a direct positive impact on well-being.
Research has shown that interaction with a dog has numerous physiological and mental health benefits, including the release of endorphins (oxytocin) which produces a calming effect, and increased feelings of comfort, motivation and socialization.
UH students have enjoyed Paws and Relax since its inception in Spring 2013, when librarians Kirsten Feist and Kelsey Brett proposed the plan that would help boost academic success through stress reduction.
“We had read about the astounding success of therapy dog programs at other college and university libraries, and wanted to provide a similar experience for the students at UH,” Feist said. “We were easily able to find partners and volunteers, with enthusiasm for the event growing each semester.”
Student engagement in the event has increased. In Spring 2013, over 1700 students visited with furry friends in the MD Anderson Library. In Fall 2013, that number grew to more than 2100.
Faithful Paws therapy dogs will be at MD Anderson Library, rooms 106T and 106P on the following dates:
April 28: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
April 29: 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. (concurrent with Finals Mania)
April 30: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
May 1: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.