The paws that refreshes… and eases end-of-term anxiety

Posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Students pose with therapy dogs at last year's event. The dogs will be available from 4-6 p.m. this afternoon and Thursday. / Photo: John Kelsey.

By Sabrina Hanna

The Dog-tor is in.

While everyone at McGill is well aware that our Libraries provide support centred upon books, journals and databases, most people don’t realize that that support comes in all shapes and sizes – including furry, four-legged, tail-wagging support. On Dec. 4 and 6, from 2-4 p.m., a pair of therapy dogs will be on hand in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library to offer a welcome respite for frazzled students looking to reduce the stress that is gaining momentum now that the end of term is fast approaching.  Call it the perfect paws from studying.

In a 2008 edition of the American Journal of Critical Care, researcher and registered nurse Margo Halm described pet therapy as “a tactile process whereby unconditional attachment bonds form between animals and humans, inducing relaxation by reducing cardiovascular reactivity to stress.” Based on her analysis, she concluded that “this intervention may contribute to optimal healing environments that promote harmony of mind, body, and spirit”. Just what the Dog-tor ordered.

“It is well documented that visits from therapy dogs have resulted in increased happiness, calmness and overall emotional well-being,” says Amber Lannon, Librarian, Head of Operations at the Humanities Social Sciences Library. “Pet therapy has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure and lift moods. It also gives students a chance to take a breather, and spend time with a dog offering genuine affection.”

The Dogs certainly won’t object to a few extra hours of attention either.

For more information on how you can reduce your stress visit the Stress Management page here.

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