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The Puppy Factor

By: Renee Wurth

Overburdened with homework? Got an annoying groupwork teammate that is blowing off his or her share of the work? Does your professor not understand that you are taking other classes besides his? Are you *thisclose* to setting a cot up in the common area of your academic building?

In other words, are you a little stressed out at school? We have just the solution for you.


Or at least, according to the brains over at M.I.T, playing with puppies appears to have significant stress-reduction outcomes.  During winter finals week, the M.I.T. campus provided some canine contact to its stressed-out students in order to aid in de-stressing before exams. Tufts University, in Medford MA, has emulated this activity with similarly positive results.

“Coined ‘Cookies with Canines,’ the study breaks give students the opportunity to come into the library when they’re feeling bogged down with finals and pet a puppy for stress relief. Dog B.O.N.E.S. (Dogs Building Opportunities for Nurturing and Emotional Support), a Massachusetts nonprofit therapy dog organization, has been bringing dogs in, and Heather Denny, the MIT Libraries communications officer, said the event’s been a huge success.” – Source: Bostoninno

As a previous article noted, many of us are innately drawn to just about all baby mammals.  With that said, there does seem to be a significant number of people that feel an extra allure when it comes to dogs and puppies.

I am no partial observer.  I have grown up with a pet dog since early adolescence, and I  plan on continuing this tradition of puppy companionship if I am ever to start a family of my own.  For objectivity’s sake, a recent study confirms our draw towards canines by revealing that dogs were the first of all animal domesticates – even despite any lack of providing material gain for survival (unlike say a cow or goat that you could trade for a dowry or slaughter for food).

Dogs have rightly earned the title of “Man’s Best Friend.”  They are loyal and downright adorable.  Plus it’s nice to know the relationship really can be symbiotic.  We can unwind while providing some much needed attention to our lovable friends.  For those of us without dogs who would rather not wait until a finals week it is worthwhile stopping by a local animal shelter.  You can volunteer, adopt, or even participate in the foster care system  (cue Sarah McLachlan  commercial).  After all, the kids at M.I.T are doing it so it must be legit.

Readers: share your thoughts – has puppy love ever saved you from brain overload?

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