Summer of 2015 I studied at Marist College for three weeks taking courses on Pre Law and gaining a college experience; I’m sure you could guess it wasn’t exactly the most stress free summer. Being that the students who were participating in this program were looking to earn college credits, we were required to learn a semesters worth of one course within only three weeks. The one thing that motivated me to get through these long days and stressful tests were that I knew that at the end of every week, there would be puppies on the campus lawn for students to relieve their stress.
As crazy as it may sound, interacting with animals has the capability to reduce stress in humans. Among most animals on the planet, dogs have been conditioned to work and respond well to human behavior and emotion. In addition to their ability to comprehend words humans use with them, they are experts in making sense of our tone, particularly when trying to discipline or address something, physical body language, and connecting on an emotional level where they are able to interpret how we are feeling. Humans usually invest in pets for the pure sense of joy and companionship, however it has been proven that owning a dog can beneficially contribute to an owner’s physical and mental health. Science has explained that there is a strong emotional connection and exertion of feelings between humans and pets. The American Heart Association has done studies on this relationship, more specifically between humans and dogs, showing that humans are less at risk for heart disease and are more likely to live a longer life if owners of dogs.
Before doing this program at Marist I was never someone who would stop in the middle of the street to pet a dog but now I can’t help myself. No matter what it is, it instantly makes me feel better as silly as it sounds. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noticed all the dogs all over Penn State; I don’t think there has been a time that I don’t stop what I am doing and play with the dogs for at least five minutes.