The end of the semester is typically a time of stress and uncertainty for many students. With final exams and project deadlines looming, students at the University of Houston are hard at work.
The long hours in the lab and library can be taxing, but perfect stress-relief tools are headed to campus this week. UH’s M.D. Anderson Library (Entrance 1 off Calhoun Road) is giving Coogs a chance to “Paws and Relax” with therapy dogs from Faithful Paws. Students can pet and play with therapy dogs and decompress from their studies this week. “Paws and Relax” sessions are in Room 106T and 106P in the library. Times and dates are as follows:
- 7 – 9 p.m., April 28
- 8 – 10 p.m., April 29
- 7 – 9 p.m., April 30
- 7 – 9 p.m., May 1
Librarians Kirsten Feist and Kelsey Brett launched “Paws and Relax” last year after seeing similar programs’ successes at other academic institutions. Furry friends from Faithful Paws visited UH in spring and fall of 2013 much to students’ approval. During its first semester on campus, more than 1,700 students interacted with the therapy dogs. That number rose to 2,100 in fall 2013.
“We had read about the astounding success of therapy dog programs at other college and university libraries and wanted to provide a similar experience for the students at UH,” Feist said. “We were easily able to find partners and volunteers, with enthusiasm for the event growing each semester.”
Research indicates that engaging with animals (including pets and registered assistance animals) has many health benefits. These include feelings of comfort, motivation and socialization.
“Paws and Relax” complements other initiatives aimed at easing tensions before final exams. UH will also host Finals Mania from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m., April 29 in the M.D. Anderson Library. During Finals Mania, faculty and staff members serve free pancakes and beverages to students.