With finals approaching, Sacramento State students got some fluffy de-stressing Monday.
“It’s a really great feeling to watch students interact with the dogs and manage their stress during finals season,” said Jessica Virk, Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) student manager, about the “Stress-Less Puppies” event.
It wasn’t just dogs – there was a rabbit, Slipper, and at least one kitten.
UC Davis students recently had a similar visit by “Therapy Fluffies.”
UC Davis’ SHCS cited American Heart Association research showing that those with pets have a lower risk for heart disease. Other studies have found positive effects on mental health and blood pressure.
“People who spend time petting or playing with a dog show elevated levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that contribute to relaxation and calmness,” UC Davis’ SHCS says.
“Petting a dog or cat can help students focus on the moment and diverts their attention away from their own fears or anxieties,” said Dawn Foster, director of marketing and communications for the Sacramento SPCA.
Lend-A-Heart of Sacramento brings animals to schools, hospitals, libraries, and even the airport.
The SPCA animals at the event were mainly from the group’s Love on Loan program, through which volunteers take their pets to hospitals, nursing homes and schools. It was started in 1984 by Sacramento SPCA staff and volunteers and was a big hit right away, Foster said.
“For students who currently can’t adopt a pet due to their schedule or housing restrictions, this event offers a wonderful opportunity for them to feel like they have a pet again,” said Foster. “This is also a great way for students to keep life in perspective and not get tunnel vision during finals. Five minutes with a cat or dog can really clear their mind.”