Scientists have long noticed that communication with cats, dogs, and other pets has a positive effect on human mood, health, and life. In the West, pets are increasingly used as therapeutic animals. So-called «pet therapy» is practiced not only in medical but also in educational institutions.
A study published in Stress and Health magazine confirmed that contact with a pet helps students deal with anxiety and focus on learning. Emma Ward-Griffin of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and her colleagues observed the health and wellness of about 300 students at a Canadian university before and after the exams. While some of them played with the fluffy “therapist” before their session, others managed the trial on their own.
Students who played with their pets felt calmer and more confident. The other group, as usual, complained of stress and negative emotions. According to the authors of the study, the results confirm that animal contact, including games, care and walks, can really help during particularly difficult and stressful periods of life, so this practice should develop.