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Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other
Those of us who own pets know they make us happy, but a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier. This includes lower blood pressure and higher levels of oxytocin, the hormone that makes us happy. Not only does it make us humans feel better, it also benefits our animals.
At the Yale Law Library circulation desk, students have been signing up this week to check out Monty, a "certified library therapy dog," for 30-minute sessions of unconditional, stress-busting puppy love.
“Stress is a major problem for college students and exams are considered one of the major stressors,” Barker said. Providing students with an opportunity to interact with visiting therapy dogs on campus can serve as a low-cost outreach intervention that is easily accessible to students and requires few professional resources.”
"You see (students') shoulders drop and see them smile. This is a great way for them to keep life in perspective. That really is the most significant part of the program. With academic stress, it's not uncommon for students to get tunnel vision during finals. Five minutes with a cat or dog, it clears their head."
"'Medical students see a lot of pain and suffering and loss on a regular basis, so this [program] offers a type of rejuvenation,' said Jane Bogart, EdD, director of the Center for Student Wellness. 'They have to grapple with and learn how to deal with really difficult emotional challenges…so anything that helps with their resilience and coping skills, we think is really important.'"
Research Center for Human Animal Interaction (ReCHAI), founded in 2005, operates as a dynamic collaboration between the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing and College of Veterinary Medicine with a mission of education and conducting programs and studies about the benefits of human-animal interaction.
Ann Gafke's Teacher's Pet provides therapy dog training, and works with several organizations throughout the Mid-Missouri area. Many of their members and their dogs are certified by Therapy Dogs International (TDI). Below are some organizations that they work with: