There’s room for more puppies at the University of Nottingham

With exam season approaching, Natasha Manohar makes the case for introducing puppy rooms more often in order to decrease stress levels among students.

Exam season is the worst season. It’s a time of stress, binge-eating, and many tears—well for me anyway. What could make this all go away do I hear you ask? Well, having a room full of puppies of course!

I hear people say: ‘A puppy is for life, not just for Christmas’…but couldn’t it be for uni? Aroud the time of exams, Cambridge University have rooms for students so that they can play with dogs and puppies in order to alleviate their stress. We too have days where guide dogs are brought to the Atrium at our university. I think that we should increase the number of these events in order to de-stress students.

Whenever anyone is experiencing stress, their levels of cortisol (which is the stress hormone) increase, consequently increasing energy by releasing glucose into the bloodstream and causing the ‘fight or flight’ response. This process increases our blood pressure, and animals have been proven to help reduce that.

“Stroking animals has proven to increase Serotonin and Dopamine (happy hormones- yay!)”

Animal-therapy is legitimately used for people suffering with anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that dog-owners have lower blood-pressure in stressful situations in comparison to those who do not have a pet. If we had dogs or puppies at uni, not only will excitement levels increase from 0 to 100, but it will almost instantly reduce the amount of stress that is present around campus. Stroking animals has proven to increase Serotonin and Dopamine (happy hormones—yay!) as it provides sensory relief- touch and movement are two ways of relieving stress.

“Puppy rooms are beneficial in terms of stress, money and health”

Now, these hormones are also triggered by smoking (which is why so many people smoke when they are stressed) so rather than wasting time and money on relieving stress through unhealthy means, why not trigger these hormones by playing with dogs? Therefore, puppy rooms are beneficial in terms of stress, money and health. Think about how everyone goes crazy over Bertie (Hallward’s very own cat) stroking and playing with him as a form of stress relief; now imagine the overall effect if we encouraged the idea of having puppy rooms at uni…I know, it’s a vision of just sheer happiness.

Not only does this have a short-term effect, but a long-term effect on our health. Pet owners are said to have a lower triglyceride (it’s getting very technical now!) and cholesterol levels—all which contribute to heart disease at high levels. So, increasing the regularity of having puppy rooms at uni is essentially increasing our life span. But, let’s not forget about the dogs and puppies themselves. They LOVE attention and being played with, so petting and playing with them regularly can help the puppies’ learning and development!

“Having a dog as part of the wellness and health office will potentially increase the likelihood of students making a visit to Student Support”

The University of Southern California have taken the puppy room feature further by hiring their own dog to serve as a representative for the uni’s office of wellness and health. I think we should try and jump on this band-wagon too. Having a dog as part of the wellness and health office will potentially increase the likelihood of students making a visit to Student Support when they are in need of mental or emotional support. Not all students feel comfortable going to speak about their problems, but having a dog present could ease tension, and make them feel considerably better before even opening up about anything!

Dogs truly do help us live longer so, as a stressed student, I think that having puppy rooms at uni is essential for our well-being.

Natasha Manohar

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Image courtesy of  University of the Fraser Valley on Flickr. License here.


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