The holidays are over. Say goodbye to the stress over cooking overwhelming family dinners and wrapping last-minute gifts and hello again to the stress of school and the finals that are coming up in a month. Oh, how we love the stressful season of preparing for finals, where all our hard work of first semester will be represented in a letter grade that will either make us or break us. As much as we’d like to deny the upcoming doom, this isn’t something that scrolling through memes on our Facebook news feed can easily fix. The pressure to do well on finals is something every student faces, and this build-up of stress can lead to sleepless nights, constant headaches, and unmotivated withdrawals. Needless to say, we need to find ways to relieve our stress and maintain our health. Here at Argolog, our advice is simple: grin and bear it — with the help of some therapy dogs, of course.
The benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy, or simply pet therapy, has been recognized since the late 1800s, when Florence Nightingale realized that playing with small animals reduced children’s anxiety levels. Sigmund Freud made similar discoveries during psychotherapy sessions in the 1930s when he discovered that having a dog nearby reduced patients’ tension. Animal therapy continues to have the same stress-relieving effects today. Physically, pet therapy can lower blood pressure through the release of endorphins, which contributes to the improvement of mental health when the patient feels comforted, less anxious, and motivated more than ever to overcome stressful obstacles.
Pet therapy has improved the atmospheres in many schools, hospitals, and nursing schools across the nation. A high school in Indiana brought in a therapy dog to motivate at-risk students, resulting in a bond between student and pet that taught the students life lessons regarding responsibility and compassion. Their therapy dog, Oscar, also calmed students whenever he was around and contributed to their mental stability.
Just imagine — what if GGHS had its own therapy dog? Kayla Luong (11) speculates how that could change our school atmosphere: “Our school could really benefit from therapy dogs because a lot of students are super stressed and need the stress relief. It could also help make school feel like a safe place for people who are unable to find relaxation at home. Plus, who doesn’t love petting a cute dog?” Indeed, with finals coming up and our stress building up, therapy dogs could help lift at least a fraction of the burden stress places on our aching backs. Even if Garden Grove High doesn’t have its own therapy dog, there are still so many ways to hang out with cute pets in our community. Go to an animal shelter, walk your neighbor’s dog, crash at your friend’s house this weekend and play with her guinea pig, and destress your life!