How pets improve mental health
CHELSEA MAZUR, CONTRIBUTOR
When the stress of school starts to pile up, some students turn to their pets for instant relief.
“When you pat a dog, you feel better because you’re making the dog feel better,” said Jared Zipman, 24, a student at RRC. “It makes me feel better when I’m sad.”
RRC student Elissa lira da Mota agrees.
“They’re their own beings and we take care of them, but they also take care of us,” said da Mota, 20.
About three years ago, the RRCSA reached out to St. John Ambulance’s therapy dog program.
“The students’ association saw mental health and related wellness activities as a priority,” said Chantel Reles. RRCSA’s vice-president internal. “This became a mental health week in the fall term.”
Reles also added that with people often living in chaotic environments, animals allow us to be human again.
Humans release hormones like serotonin and oxytocin that help people relax, according to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s website.
“[We] can find comfort in the companionship that animals and pets offer,” Reles said. “I don’t see many people who can walk past a dog and not want to say hello, yet we aren’t so comfortable to do the same to the general public.”
Therapy dogs visited the Notre Dame Campus and The Roblin Centre when students came back to school in January.