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Puppies: Adorable & Effective Stress Relievers

By Shannon Donohue
On May 6, 2015

   One of the most common complaints among students about campus life is the 

constant longing for a cuddle session with their pet at home. During high school, you 

could come home after a long day and your pet would seem to instantly make your 

stresses just melt away. 

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   With the high-stress environment of a college campus, it would seem logical for 

schools to invest in “puppy therapy,” especially during midterm and final periods. 

Academic pressures run highest at these times, and these animals offer a quick and 

effective escape from the never ending buildup of homework, presentations, and 


   A study mentioned in USA Today stated that interacting with animals instantly 

lowers the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your brain. It also releases the 

“happy hormone” oxytocin, thus relieving stress and refreshing your mood almost 


   In the last few years, many institutions all across the country have brought stress-

relieving animals onto their campuses to help students cope with the stress of 

school. Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School both have puppy rental 

programs, where students can borrow trained therapy dogs for a certain amount of 

time at no cost to the student. 

   Other campuses, such as the University of Rhode Island and the University of 

California, have similar programs in which the schools rent trained animals from 

local shelters and let students play with them on the campus green for free.

Indiana University recently enacted their “Rent-a-Puppy” program in which the 

school partnered with a local animal shelter and allowed students to pay $5 to rent a 

puppy for a day. If the students fell in love with the dog, as many did, they could then 

officially adopt the puppy from the local shelter. This benefited everyone involved 

with the program. 

   These puppy therapy sessions are extremely effective, and Marist students would be 

elated if they were integrated into our school. 

   “I would be so thrilled, especially since a lot of people have pets at home they really 

miss towards the end of the semester. It would be so great to get my mind off of 

finals for a day or two,” said sophomore Genevieve Hauck. 

   Finals can be a stressful time, and Marist would greatly benefit from bringing 

therapy animals to campus. If not, just keep in mind that after finals, you’re one step 

closer to finally cuddling up with your pet at home again!

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