The Sideshow

College offering puppy room for stressed out students

The Puppy Room advertisement posted by the Dalhousie Student Union (Facebook)University students are well versed in coming up with ways to cope with the stress of college life. But some students at a college in Canada have started a new trend that is family-friendly, opening a puppy room for students during finals week.

The National Post reports that for three days during finals week (Dec. 4-6), students at Dalhousie University can spend some time with therapeutic dogs, which are being brought in by Therapeutic Paws of Canada.

"It fills a niche that people need right now because students are superstressed," Michael Kean, an environmental science student who first proposed the idea, told the Post.

After the student union first advertised the event on its Facebook page, the Puppy Room has gone viral across social networking sites.

"Our expectations are pretty high right now," Gavin Jardine, vice president of student life at Dalhousie told the Post. "We had 1,800 shares, thousands of 'likes.' It's gone viral on Twitter as well."

Don LeBlanc of Therapeutic Paws of Canada said all the dogs attending the event come from loving homes and enjoy the company of people. A number of different breeds will be on hand to interact with students who sign up to visit the Puppy Room.

And buzz from the Dalhousie Puppy Room has spread so quickly that LeBlanc says a half-dozen universities have already called about staging similar events for their students.

So, is there any actual evidence to support using guest dogs to alleviate the stress of busy college students?

"If you do any research at all about the benefits of using pets, you'll find out quite quickly that it lowers blood pressure," LeBlanc said. "It certainly made a huge difference in my life when I got a dog."