By Alexandre Baude
Stress is awful. It gnaws at your thoughts, prevents you from sleep, and never, ever disappears until your task is either complete or you accept the outcome. College campuses have always attempted to try and reduce the stress levels of their population through talks on techniques to reduce stress, exhilarating events to take your mind off of it, or meditative moments to take a second a breath. However, another quickly growing technique is the use of animals.
Schools across the country are adopting all sorts of “Bring your dog to work” days that allow students to interact with the furry animals. There is substantial research that depicts interactions with dogs or other docile animals increases the levels of endorphins (the happy hormone) and of oxytocin (an anxiety and blood pressure reducer). These effects help combat the stress and anxiety a student may be experiencing during a particularly busy time.
Now, if you live on campus, and have been here last year, you’ve probably noticed a slew of new pups running around. There’s Bean, Finn, Winnie, Evie, and Harry, among others, who parade around, following their owners to and from events across the 5Cs. These dogs, once outside, are subject to an almost unending wave of, “Oh my god. She’s so cute,” or a sharp inhale followed by a faint “Can I pet her?” with a hand already outreached.
It’s understandable why these dogs are such super-stars. For one, they’re dogs on a college campus. Students here are usually without a furry friend, and are surrounded by a very competitive and rigorous environment. The average stress levels are rather high due to it. It’s no mystery why so many want to experience an extra shot of endorphins or oxytocin to combat their arduous workload.
When I asked Sophomore Amina Farías, owner of the little black toy poodle, Bean, about what it was like having a dog on campus, she said, “It’s the best. It’s really nice to be able to share how great she is with other students who may miss their dogs at home.” It’s true; many pet owners do find comfort in playing with another furry friend because they also miss their own.
Pitzer’s animals have been a great hit among many students. Sophomore Jeremy Greer exclaimed, “I love dogs. This is so great,” as he scratched Bean’s head.
However, with Halloween just around the corner, it’s important to remain very aware of one’s disposal of sweets, particularly chocolate. Chocolate is a toxin for dogs, and if consumed can cause serious injury or death. Therefore, be very mindful with any candy you’d rather not eat.
As long as the owners and the dogs themselves feel this is a safe place for them, these wonderful furry beasts will remain with us. Be mindful, treat them with care and respect, and they shall reward you with endless laps and licks of slobbery love.