If stress or anxiety is something you suffer from often, you should consider pet ownership. Maybe your college budget only has room to splurge on guacamole at Chipotle, but maybe you realize you have some extra money you can move around. Studies show that being a pet owner can teach people a lot about responsibility and can be a very good for mental health. Pet ownership benefits include routine, activity, companionship, better health, and unconditional love. In other words, being a dog owner requires providing the dog with food and exercise, which will often inspire the owner to also make themselves food and exercise. Dogs will not only force their owners to get out of bed even on the hardest days, they will be waiting for them at the end of these difficult days, ready to cuddle.
Recently, I had the privilege of going to Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center with my service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, to play with the dogs housed at the shelter. These adorable, adoptable furry friends gave me some perspective -- that although I might not feel prepared for exams, there are still things that will always make me feel happy and loved -- and those emotions are always most important. While volunteering, I had a respite from schoolwork stress and could engage with some furry friends.
Finals week is infamous for producing epic amounts of stress, which is exactly why you should consider organizing a date with your favorite puppy. Petting dogs helps relieve stress. Studies show petting dogs helps lower your heart rate. This why therapy dogs are valuable for older and younger people and why they are instrumental in creating low-stress environments.
If you are feeling overwhelmed during exams and don't know any local dogs, know that you don't have to go without some puppy love. Every Tuesday, on the ground floor of Cathy, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society hosts Therapy Dog Tuesdays. Therapy dogs and their owners attend the event so stressed-out Pitt students can pet some friendly dogs ready for some love!
So this finals week, head down to the Cathedral for Therapy Dog Tuesdays and connect with a non-judgmental canine friend who will love you, even if you aren't going to pass your exams.