Take A Paws

Therapy dogs come to West Bloomfield

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Take A Paws

Neil Haran and Arianna Heyman

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On the 21st of January, West Bloomfield High School’s iCenter hosted numerous therapy dogs to help students cope with the stress of upcoming finals. The event was a wild success, attracting hundreds of students who were all counting down the hours until they could meet their furry friends. During the event, students who had signed up through Mrs. Abeska in the iCenter were able to come and visit the dogs during their lunch period.

 

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At first glance, it may seem like a whimsical activity to distract students from the weight of their workloads. However, pet therapy, or“animal-assisted therapy” (AAT) has been scientifically proven to reduce pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue, as well as assist in rehabilitative activities in patients. In terms of one’s physical health, AAT has been found to reduce blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and release calming endorphins such as oxytocin.

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While the physical benefits are substantial, AAT is also known to have profound mental health benefits. Specifically, it has been found to lessen depression and anxiety, decrease feelings of isolation, encourage communication, and even help overcome speech and emotion disorders. These results following in the wake of America’s growing mental-health crisis among high school students offer a promising future for AAT. The event was a success, and the talk of the school all day. It was a great way to decompress and remind students to not take life so seriously.

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