Schools are made up of many rooms. There are classrooms, lecture halls, study halls, activity rooms, meeting rooms, gymnasiums, cafeterias, music rooms, drama centers … There are also work rooms, both for teachers and for the field of study classes, such as wood shop, or home economics. Science has its own set of rooms. But a new room has been added at a university in Britain–a puppy room.
The student union at the University of Central Lancashire held its first “puppy room” event this past Thursday, May 7th, 2015. The student union is sponsoring what they are terming the SOS Campaign, otherwise known as “Stressed Out Students”. Students can schedule time increments of 10 to 15 minutes to come in and play with puppies and dogs for a minimal donation to a local guide dog charity.
While this event is obviously of benefit to a worthy cause, it has already shown the benefit of de-stressing participating students as well. College life usually comes with full schedules, project deadlines, study time and highly stressful testing and exams. Students are realizing the relaxation they experience while playing with the dogs and puppies. They find this time away from the pressures of school reduces stress, while lifting their spirits at the same time. It is an interlude of good fun and forgetting, for just a few minutes, the busyness of their lives.
Some colleges and universities in the United States have also recognized the value of using therapy puppies and dogs to help students alleviate their stress. The administrations report an actual reduction in stress related to testing and exams.
There really is something to be said for scratching a pup behind the ears, and receiving a sloppy, wet kiss right on the lips in return. Puppies and dogs are special gifts from God to many, and as such, it is great to see that even higher education has come to value their worth in stress reduction.
Will puppy rooms catch on and last? Or will they soon become a thing of the past, not generating enough excitement to hold the students’ attention? The idea of teaming up this method of stress control with a worthy charity or cause could very well make the difference. It could be that puppy rooms will truly be the way of the future, and become an accepted addition to the university curriculum, or, rather, the kennel!
“God will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” Job 8:21
If you have a story of success due to a pet therapy program, would you share it with us? Please go to www.mystoryofgrace.com, and post it so that we can celebrate your victory with you!