Therapy dog Whiskey graciously assists JOMC Senior Associate Dean Chris Roush in taking a break from a blizzard of winter finals. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Willen Brown via Facebook.
Final exams are imminent at universities all across the country. Stress levels are skyrocketing, so students are turning to… pets.
At the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Park Library is scheduled to be a stress relief center on Wednesday, April 29 and Friday, May 1. On those days, Park Library Director Stephanie Willen Brown is bringing in therapy pets Archie, Ike, Whiskey, Topaz, Cadi and Brady to help stressed humans relax.
A Pennsylvania State University study published in October 2014 in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that people encountering a friendly dog had drops in cortisol (a hormone humans produce under stress) and heart rate. The dog effect was stronger even than among people paired with their human friends.
So if finals have you feeling a little frazzled, check out the Park Library’s therapy pet schedule and come commune with some representatives of the animal kingdom. A little fur is good for what ails you!
Get off the couch and get moving.
A recent NYT “Well” blog post by Tara Parker-Pope espouses the benefits of walking the dog;
One study even found that older people are more likely to take regular walks if the walking companion is canine rather than human.
“You need to walk, and so does your dog,” said Rebecca A. Johnson, director of the human-animal interaction research center at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. “It’s good for both ends of the leash.”
Is a dog (or any walkable pet – large cat, iguana, you name it) a personal version of the “nudge” public policies promoted by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their book by the same name?
CDC.gov gives tips for staying safe and healthy during hurricanes.
If you live anywhere between North Carolina and Maine, you know Hurricane Earl is headed your way. Maybe you bought some more bread and milk at the grocery yesterday. In the worst case scenario, you are packing up and leaving town.
But the CDC wants people to remember that weather preparedness doesn’t just mean boarding up the windows. They have a public relations campaign to help you, and your pets, prepare, evacuate, and recover. Don’t forget to stock up on prescription medicines, food, and a first aid kit, and make sure everyone in your family has a plan, says the CDC. Even though half a decade has passed since Hurricane Katrina hit, the images of people suffering should be enough to help bolster the CDC’s message.