This could very well be one of those writing projects that starts out as a blog post and ends up being a ten-page research paper. Oh well, we’ll see what happens.
Last week, I posted an article all about the relationship between anxiety and animals. For me personally, having a family dog has been one of the biggest joys in my life. It’s like having a younger sibling, except we don’t speak the same language and we’re somehow best friends. Being away from him at school is difficult, especially since he helps me with my anxiety so much.
I know from speaking to my friends that a lot of college students feel the same way- we all miss our pets! Even if you’re not necessarily struggling with anxiety or depression, having an animal to bond with can help improve your mood and overall stress levels. Having a dog, for example, also requires you to get exercise due to the frequent walks your dog will need.
Moving on to the point of this article- what if college campuses teamed up with animal shelters? Imagine having an animal shelter on your college campus that you could volunteer to walk dogs for, or hang out in the cat room to relieve some of your stress? Sounds pretty awesome to me. Not only do you get more exercise and stress-relief from being around animals, but the animals themselves also receive constant love and affection. And then, if you especially bond with an animal while you’re at school, you could adopt them after you graduate! I can imagine the adoption rates for having a shelter on a college campus would be significantly higher than average.
Obviously, this is volunteer work and not a job, so I wouldn’t foresee students being paid for this type of an opportunity. It would be extremely cost effective, if you ask me, because most of the students doing the work are not earning an income from the volunteer work. It’s just a fun little hobby that students could do on the side, for the benefit of both their health and the animal’s health.
There is a huge amount of research that indicates the power between human-animal bonds. Spending time with animals can lower your blood pressure and help you to maintain your motivation, which is something I believe all students need a hefty boost in. Even people with physical disabilities can find relief in spending time with an animal- one study found that patients with fibromyalgia showed an improvement in pain and mood after engaging in animal therapy. Having an animal shelter on campus could also be really useful for a college that offers classes relevant to animal health or veterinary care- you would have an internship opportunity five minutes away from you!
I realize this logistically is not very possible or likely for any college to incorporate an animal shelter onto the campus, but it’s something that gives me joy to think about. It feels like a flexible, well-rounded idea to me that would bring in a lot of traffic and attention to the issue of abandoned shelter animals. That being said, bringing in staff to actually work at the shelter could be a financial problem, if your school doesn’t have tons of cash to give out for external projects.
I’m curious to see if this idea could ever work in practical application. What do you think? If you college had an animal shelter on site, would you utilize it for volunteer purposes? I can say without a doubt that a college animal shelter would probably become my new favorite spot.
Coming up next: A Beginner’s Guide to The Sims 4