Puppies: eliminating stress on campus for good

Puppies! Who doesn’t love those little guys? Whether it’s a Golden Retriever, Yorkshire Terrier or a Great Dane, those first few months of a dog’s life are just a little slice of heaven with their wet noses, tongues, and angel-soft fluffy coat. How can you not like that smell when you dig your face into their loose fur—a mix between wet soil, lavender, sunshine and rainbows. Puppies seem to be capable of solving anyone’s problems. The UC Riverside Mental Health Outreach team has been bringing puppies to the HUB lawn during finals week and allowing students to pet and play with those little bundles of joy in order to help relieve the stress of finals. But are students only stressed during finals week? I think not. The entire quarter is a constant hurricane of stress and the only thing to stop this whirling stress storm is puppies.

This vacant Stacked Deli has a lot of promise for becoming a venue that can drastically help our fellow students. More restaurants, some say. Others plead for yet another quiet place to study. I even heard one student wishing they would turn it into a weed clinic. Now I don’t know if weed can reduce stress, but I’m one hundred percent certain puppies can solve the problem. This empty spot needs to be filled and I think puppies can do the job, just like how they can fill that hole in your heart after a breakup or a horrible test score. Puppies do the trick. I am petitioning to turn this spot into a puppy playroom and adoption shelter to help at-risk, stressed-out students.

Finals are brutal, don’t get me wrong. But what about the papers throughout the quarter that we have to write, the onslaught of midterm tests and hours in lab—not to mention having a job on the side? The students here on campus need a place to go to relieve the constant stress in a healthy way. Who has time to mingle with the overflow of frat guys in the weightroom anyway? Instead of lifting weights or running on the treadmill and hearing about what your local “bro” did over the weekend involving a snorkel and two avocados, let’s open up the closed doors to the Stacked Deli and fill it with glorious puppies.

According to a CNN, a test sample of 76 employees were examined for stress. The study discovered that everyone started the day with the same amount of the stress-related hormone cortisol, but the employees that brought their dogs to work reported much lower levels at the end of just one work day than the ones that didn’t bring their pups. The study also discovered that the dogs appeared to be “communication energizers,” livening conversations among employees. So now you’re telling me that puppies not only reduce stress but also create conversations? Students have the opportunity to not only relieve stress and who knows? Maybe they can even meet the love of their life after cuddling up to the cute, smashed-in face of a puppy pug. Now that’s a Ryan Gosling love flick if I’ve ever seen one.

People may say that there are many problems involving a room with puppies: who will pick up all the puppy poop? Who will feed these beautiful beasts? And what will happen when the puppies get bigger? I think these problems are easily solved. We can create a work-study program that is in charge of taking care of the puppies, hiring students to clean and feed them. Just like that, more jobs have been created on campus for our struggling students. Others might ask, “But what about students who are allergic?” Toss them a few Zyrtec and a little black lab with blue eyes—I dare someone to sneeze at that. Why not work at turning this into an on-campus animal shelter, giving the puppies a chance to have a great home so their love can be returned for the rest of their lives? In the end, if people are really bothered with having puppies on campus then I think the majority can agree we don’t want those people on campus, anyway. I mean, who doesn’t love puppies? Honestly.

Imagine a room filled with the beautiful noise of puppies barking, their little paws reaching up to your ankles, just begging for you to pick them up to lick your face. All the stress from the test you have later has lessened and because you are more calm you get a better grade than before. I’ve heard how Chancellor White walks through the campus with his dog during finals week to ease the stress on students. Now we have the chance to create that beautiful feeling year round. Let’s make a step forward in thinking about the mental state of our students. Bring on the puppy playroom.

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