A number of schools and universities in the West have often used four-legged, happy pooches to promote emotional and physical health during exams, and this trend seems to be hitting namma city too! Symbiosis International University became the first in Bengaluru to put a ‘paws’ on the stress that slunk in with exams and now, they are hoping to take it across their other campuses across the country.
“It is well known and scientifically proven that pet therapy has many benefits including lowering BP, releasing endorphins that soothe and make you happy, lifts your spirits and lessens depression, lowers anxiety and isolation and creates better socialisation with colleagues,” explains professor Vikram Sampat’, director Symbiosis School Of Media and Communica tion, Benga luru. Students are stoked to welcome furry canines as part of their campus family too. “Pet-assisted therapy has often been a powerful technique, even finding use in hospitals and care centers. Dogs are especially adept at relieving stress for us students, who tend to get competitive and stressed during exams – in fact, I remember fighting with my warden for her to allow me to keep my dogs in the hostel,” notes Deepti Verma, a student of business management who lives on campus.
Two Labra- dor puppies have been adopted by the campus and students get to be in charge of them – everything from naming the pooches to walking, playing and being responsible for them in between classes. Students believe that this programme is an excellent addition to their existing curriculum, not only because it addresses stress, but helps students be more compassionate and responsible. “Many of us start to fall sick due to back-to-back classes, projects and presentations that ought to meet the deadline. Being an animal lover, this is the best stress-busting therapy there is!” says Anuj Rathi, another student who is thrilled to have these four-legged friends on campus along with his own pug,
Pogo to whom he goes back home to. Even if you aren’t particularly fond of bowwows, “This initiative can help those afraid of pets to overcome their fear and for the already accustomed, it’s going to be a journey of love. I personally believe a hug can mentally cure any problem for a person. So, who better than these walking balls of love to help us with that?” smiles Niveditha Sreenivasan, a media student from the college.
Experts believe that introducing this type of pet therapy in colleges is fantastic. “A dog can sense energies – if you’re happy, they are exuberant too. Similarly, if you are depressed, sad or worked up, they tend to be very calm, lick or put a paw on your hand for instance, like lending a shoulder. This works in the case of an environment that is stressed out due to exams too as touching them has therapeutic effects like bringing down your blood pressure,” says Anand Vishwanath, a canine behaviourist and founder of Anvis Inc.