Last month the Integrative Health Student Interest Group, for which I’ve been chair for the past two years, hosted an Assisted-Animal Therapy event. I found a research study that looked at pet therapy and its effects on nursing students and testing and studying anxiety. Conclusion? “Anecdotal evidence … with the author’s Golden Retriever, Goldilocks, demonstrates that pet therapy can reduce test anxiety and improve nursing student performance.” What better proof than this to bring animal therapy to JHU SON?
Four volunteers from Pets on Wheels and their dogs graciously came and talked a bit about what the volunteer program consists of. The dogs were a veritable magnet–I would say that everyone who walked past the glass doors of the Carpenter Room had to poke their heads in and see what the activity was all about. There was laughter, ooo-ing, and aaah-ing, and the atmosphere was infused with relaxation, and general joy and cheer. Looking at the pictures, it is evident that this event was truly grins galore!
How wonderful would it be if we could get Pets on Wheels to come during exams to help the students de-stress? I found out that the University of San Francisco’s law school provides animal therapy for its students, so this form of therapy for students is not unknown. Vicki Rummel (pictured in blue), from Pets on Wheels, told me that they provide this service for students at Towson University also, and that they would be more than happy to come to JHU SON and help out.
In hindsight, I wish we had tried to bring Pets on Wheels in a lot earlier, so that I could have taken advantage of pet therapy during school. However, as I move on, I hope that this will be a service provided for future students. Pet therapy is painless, enjoyable, soothing–and absolute pure love.