Forty years after Elaine Smith pioneered therapy dogs at nursing homes, the concept of canines easing tensions is returning to UC San Diego.
The event — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Price Center West Ballroom — was created after researchers discovered that petting a dog lowers stress levels and improves mood.
About two dozen certified therapy dogs, including golden doodles, a bichon/poodle mix, a Bernese, golden retrievers, labradors and other K9 species, will be at the event to help students relax.
“The success of this tradition established at UC San Diego has attracted hundreds of students, staff and faculty and has been adopted by other campuses such as UC Merced, UC Davis and UC Riverside,” UCSD said in a press release.
The event is sponsored by The Zone at UC San Diego, called “a wellness programming space designed to help students achieve their optimal well-being.”
An April Fools’ edition of The Guardian student newspaper even made light of the dog visits, showing UCSD’s chancellor in a gray canine costume.
“In an effort to improve the relationship between students and administration, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla has volunteered to serve as a therapy fluffy to help students relieve stress during the academic quarter,” the 2016 story began.
“Khosla’s press release stated that ‘immediate, affectionate interaction is needed to bring students and the UCSD administration closer together.’ Moreover, it boasted of the qualities that make University of California administrators inherently superior to dogs, citing ‘cleanliness, a longer lifespan and ease of house-training.’”
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