OPINION: The solution to student stress is simple – more dogs

by | Feb 19, 2020 | Opinion

Parmisse Menendez Limo, Sports Editor

Being stressed, having assignments, studying for exams, working and doing everything students are required to do to finish their program can be demanding and tiring.

There are added burdens with international students, including dealing with the authorities, but also living while missing home, loved ones and all else that was left behind.

However, many things could be done to forget our problems and help us relax from all the stuff we need to do. One of them is to pet dogs.

Numerous studies show a positive link between dogs and people. The journal BMC Psychiatry in 2016 reported a positive link in the role of pets and people with long-term mental health issues.

Another study by Washington State University found cuddling animals could reduce stress and anxiety. This happens because only 10 minutes of petting animals reduce cortisol, the primary hormone that causes stress. That is why many places are applying this magnificent idea.

I was at the Pearson Airport in December and I saw five dogs right after passing through customs. I walked fast to pet them because I was excited and happy to see dogs and to have the chance to cuddle them. I saw a golden retriever, two Boston terriers, a schnauzer, and a Labrador.

They all were friendly, and the Labrador even licked me when his trainer was looking somewhere else. I almost lost it when I petted the schnauzer because I have two mini schnauzers back home. I had them since they were puppies, so this cute pup reminded me of them.

I must admit this episode was satisfying and helped me to stay calm while waiting for my flight. I only saw them at this airport as this idea was implemented last year to help travellers to reduce stress.

Which brings me to Humber. Even though Humber provides occasional visits by Percy Shulman – the therapy dog, I think the school should have a place where we could go to relax by sharing our time with cats or dogs trained to help people. The problem, however, is that I would be there all day.

Perhaps having volunteers to feed, care and walk dogs could help promote the adoption of pets.

I think it would be a way to make students happier, which would improve our performance at school and help us boost our marks.

And who knows, some of us could end up providing forever homes for animals.