Friday, December 16, 2011

Puppies Rescued from Shelters Help Law Students Relax

We know there’s nothing quite like hanging out with a mutt to help lower a human’s stress level. And according to this story I found, law school is a pretty stressful place to be, especially around exam time. That’s why George Mason University School of Law in my neck of the woods, Virginia ,recently held a “puppy day” with 15 homeless and adoptable puppies.

More and more, law schools are trying to teach students how to balance the stress of their studies with healthy habits like running, volunteering or my personal favorite, hanging out with a pet. The Yale Law Library now has a “therapy dog” named Monty, and other law schools have also brought puppies on campus during exams. 
For high-strung law students, dogs and other animals can also provide a soothing presence. That’s a lesson researchers have learned from others in stressful environments, including soldiers in war zones and patients in rehabilitation centers.
At George Mason’s law school, students took time out from studying to play with the puppies. The animals had been saved recently from euthanasia in West Virginia shelters by A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation. The four litters of mixed-breed puppies are living with four foster moms until they are adopted.
“There’s nothing like a puppy to make someone smile,” said Debbie Marson, a volunteer with the foundation. “It’s great for the students, and it’s great socialization for the dogs.”
It’s hard to say who enjoyed the interaction more. The puppies loved the petting and attention, with some even falling asleep in the law students’ arms. But one thing’s for sure: “puppy day” was an unmitigated success. “I think they are sensing our stress,” one student said as she cuddled with a puppy. “They’re reminding us we need to take breaks.”
I think this is something we should take to every stressed occupation don't you?
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