Missing your furry friend at home is common among college students.

USA Today reported, “The 2015 National College Health Assessment results were that thirty percent of students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance within the past year, and over eighty-five percent had felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the past year.”

According to Jennifer Horton, from Science: How Stuff Works, “there’s something incredibly comforting about coming home after a long day at work and being greeted with wet, slobbery kisses. For many people, interacting with a pet is the ultimate antidote to a stressful day. In fact, in one study, when people were presented with stressful tasks in four different situations – alone, with their spouse, with their pet, or with both their spouse and their pet – they experienced the lowest stress response and the quickest recovery in the situation where they were only with their pet.”

In the hopes of making students’ longing for their dog less painful and alleviating stress, Residential Life puts on a program known as “Paws for Play.”

Keene State College senior and music education major Karver Bosela recently held this program in Pondside One, where he is a Residence Assistant.

Bosela said that the program gives students a friendly and fun outlet to destress. He also said that Residential Life tries to put on the program every semester.

“The dogs are brought in by community and staff members. They are all previously trained before coming,” Bosela said.

He said the purpose of the program is to benefit students and help them enjoy their time here at Keene State. “Everyone loves puppies. I think it’s a great idea for a program and several students always come,” Bosela said.

Bosela also said how the program is held repeatedly because of the popularity of it.

Sophomore and double major in elementary education and psychology Rachel Reekie said she has been to the program multiple times.

“I go because I love dogs and I miss mine. The best part about the program is being with the dogs and some of the owners are actually fun to hang out with too,” Reekie said.

Reekie said that the program is beneficial to her personally because it is a stress reliever. She added, “If you don’t feel better after hanging out with dogs then you’re wrong.”

Reekie also said if the program was put on more often she would go all of the time because “it’s honestly just great.”

Another student who enjoyed Paws for Play was sophomore and theatre major Mia Plympton.

Plympton said she she goes to the program whenever it is offered, and that she went last week because she is friends with one of the Residence Assistants in Pondside One and she loves dogs.

“Hanging out with dogs is really great. I think a lot of kids at the school have left pets behind at home and I know personally I really miss mine, especially since I’ve never not had at least one dog, and it is really calming to get dog love,” Plympton said.

Emma Hamilton can be contacted at ehamilton@kscequinox.com

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