Noah, an English shepherd, gets some study-break loving from students at the Homer D. Babbidge Library at the University of Connecticut. Photo credit: mansfield.htnp.com

By Michael Kaminsky

(LIBRARY DOGS) — ‘Tis the season to be studying. Students across the country are rapidly approaching, or currently entrenched in, final exams. Finals mark the time of year when students binge on coffee and Red Bull while pulling all-nighters in an attempt to make up for months of partying and procrastination.

In response to students’ bi-annual impending wave of worry, some progressive American colleges and universities are implementing animal-assisted activities into their library programs. As an adorable way to relieve stress, the students can pet or play with their furry study buddy.

Most recently, the University of Connecticut’s Homer Babbidge Library on the Storrs campus provided several animal-assisted activities to support their studious populous as a part of the Paws to Relax program.

Even if it’s just for a moment, studies show the social and therapeutic benefits of pet guardianship and animal interaction. UConn’s library currently offers therapy dogs for physical and emotional support for students during times of anxiety—as well as a cute and cuddly study break.

Another case of animals de-stressing students came last spring from Yale’s Law School library. In addition to their vast collection of law journals, students can checkout Monty, a therapy bulldog (Yale’s mascot), for 30-minute sessions in a designated library room. The school hopes students can de-stress during final exams with Monty’s help. Yale’s four-legged service is leading other law schools like the University of San Francisco and University of Richmond in launching their own pilot programs.

Sophia Loren is one of the therapy dogs in the USF School of Law Dorraine Zief Law Library. Photo credit: sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

While Yale’s mascot is open for checkout to all students (although we’re unsure on their overdue policy), the University of San Diego choose to bring in groups of therapy dogs. Several teams of dogs and their handlers grace the Alcalá Park campus for a few hours each week offering stress-reducing playtime.

Students may not forget their worries, but time spent with a loving pet can put anyone in a positive mood. Students cite the therapy dogs as reminders of home and passed pets, or simply as a warm companion—because we all know law textbooks make for a better read with a Golden­doodle underfoot.

It’s clear that higher education is learning about the uplifting effects pets can have on students.

As finals loom, we here at Global Animal wish students around the globe the best of luck. Study until your brain begs you to go play with a dog. Because in the end, animals make everything better—even studying. — Global Animal

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