Dogs are Relieving Stress

Ben Raczek

Former SPASH student Anna Rathe with her service dog Marvin.

During this year of many changes, many students are finding that school is causing them stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 80% of U.S. students report feeling stressed sometimes or often. Are you looking for a way to relieve stress? Perhaps a furry friend could help.

Dogs provide beneficial support when alleviating stress. A recent study led by the Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, shows that 19.4% of Americans use a support animal. The majority of these animals being dogs. In addition to the social support, stress relief, and general health benefits pets can bring, research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pets. In an interview with former SPASH student Anna Rathe, when asked how her dog helps in stressful situations she stated ¨a lot of it is him being near and just his presence. It’s more of just not being alone. He allows me to hold him and have my hands in his hair. Just having an animal to go do things with. Having Marvin makes it easier to enciate things.¨ 

To say it in another way, Dogs provide support in and outside of the classroom. At Jefferson Elementary School, second grade teacher Mrs. Kurzynski brings in her dog Chopin. In an interview with Mrs. Kurzynski, I asked her if she felt the benefits of bringing Chopin into class. Mrs. Kurzynski responded with ¨I never cease to be amazed by the benefits of bringing Chopin into my classroom.  As soon as he walks in the door, the atmosphere in the classroom completely changes.  All of the students know they need to be on their best behavior and to follow the dog safety rules during their up-close interactions with him.¨ Chopin helps to teach the students how to follow rules and proper behavioral skills. The skills Learned by the students will help them throughout the rest of their lives. Later in the interview, Mrs. Kurzynski says ¨he has his most powerful influence over the students who have emotional and behavioral disorders.  I have seen students with the most volatile emotional responses suddenly exercise the greatest control over themselves just so they can spend time with Chopin.¨ Dogs like Chopin help kids in school focus and stay on task to be rewarded by spending time with Chopin. 

Unlike many, some people find that dogs bring stress. The thought of having to take care of another living animal can bring stress to people. According to veterinary behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman, forty-two percent of dog owners report their dogs as having behavior problems of some sort. Behavioral problems can cause stress.

Generally, Training your dogs will eliminate behavioral problems. Less behavioral problems could lead to less stress. According to a recent American Pet Product Association National Pet Owners Survey, only four percent of the dogs in the U.S. take a training class.When picking a dog, it is important to choose a breed of dog that suits you and is easy to train.

In conclusion, Getting a dog for stress relief is beneficial. Dogs help to relieve stress through the school year by comforting you throughout the day. Dogs are an escape from homework when you need a little break. Have you been doing homework for 3 hours? Take 15 minutes to play with your dog and relieve some stress!