The school year has barely started, but UBC is already organizing a day for students to de-stress with man’s best friend.
A plethora of 15 therapy dogs will be hitting the university’s campus tomorrow morning, the pups will be there until noon to allow students a moment of relaxation as the school year ramps up. The specially trained dogs will be provided by non-profit society Vancouver ecoVillage.
“The data is really quite striking in this situation,” Stanley Coren, professor of psychology at UBC and an expert with dog behaviour, tells Daily Hive. “There’s data that shows that if you pet a friendly dog, your breathing becomes more regulated, your heart rate slows, your blood pressure goes down, and the muscles relax.”
Coren says the most interesting thing about dog therapy is that the same benefits can be achieved with anti-depressants such as Prozac, but the relaxation and happiness that comes from petting puppies is instantaneous, compared to a gradual build with medication.
“Of course it’s not going to last as long, but there is evidence that the big benefits of dogs will last three or four hours, and you can still find measurable benefits up to 24 hours afterwards.”
“You’ve got a stressed population of students, and here we can give them instant furry Prozac, and they can get some short-term benefits from this,” adds Coren.
While it’s nowhere near exam season just yet – it’s just September after all – Coren says this is part of a pilot to see what the demand will be like for such a program during crunch time at UBC.
And let’s face it, if you’re a first year student, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed already.
Nothing a little puppy love can’t cure.
When: Tuesday, September 20; 10:30 am to noon
Where: AMS Nest – 6133 University Boulevard, Vancouver