Our best friends?

dog (10)

Not so long ago, the idea of bringing dogs/cats or other furry, cuddly companions into the Library for stress relief during exam time was raised but  it’s not something that’s happened – as yet.

I did a little bit of research into the success of these type of events and their popularity. I was amazed to see how many higher education libraries in the USA are regularly using pet therapy to provide some quiet time between animal and human to help ease the pressure of exams .

One organization, Pet Partners has even gone so far as to create an hour long webinar specifically aimed at educational institutions hosting events for students involving animal therapy.

So, what are the benefits of animal therapy. Research has shown that stroking a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, lift mood and provide a general sense of well-being.

Hear some students discussing their enjoyment of an event at Clarkson University.

Bringing animals to libraries during exam time is becoming a regular feature at many universities across the United States so perhaps it’s not considered a new and innovative thing any more. In the UK I would argue it is and a very effective one. The only place I could find offering this kind of activity was University of Warwick who ran the scheme last year and it proved so popular it’s back this year.

The pets could also be positioned outside the library as visitors enter as has happened at some of the American library sites if there are complications with bringing them indoors though a designated room could also be arranged.

Is this something you would like to see happen here at The University of Manchester Library? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


6 thoughts on “Our best friends?

  1. . These kittens are adorable and it sounds like the scheme is working well. Cats or dogs – I love them all and the benefits are similar

  2. I have some reservations about these schemes. I’m not sure we should think of animals as ours to use for stress relief…..or anything else.If people want to spend time with their pets – or volunteer at a shelter – as a way of relieving stress then that’s fantastic but I’m not sure animals should be provided as a “facility” for people to utilise.

    • I do understand your reservations, Gary. It goes with out saying that the well-being of the animal is as important as the well-being of the student(s) and they would have to be carefully handled and cared for. Usually in these kind of schemes it is pet owners who volunteer to bring their pets into hospitals, schools etc after much training has taken place and the owners feel their pet is suitable and may actually enjoy the interaction. As some people don’t have the opportunity to have a pet of their own or be around animals much on a daily basis and for students away from home and potentially missing their own pets I think it’s a nice idea as long as handled sensitively.

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