Petting puppies is the newest—and cutest—way students anxious over year-end exams and dissertation deadlines can de-stress at the University of Central Lancashire in England.
When the UCLan Students' Union announced on Facebook it would take 300 signups for a "puppy room" on May 7, all the slots—and a waiting list—filled up in a day.
Besides relaxing 20 to 30 puppy cuddlers at a time, the 15-minute sessions will raise money for Guide Dogs, which will provide the tail-waggers.
A Japanese study on the "power of kawaii," or cuteness, showed people have higher levels of concentration after looking at pictures of puppies or kittens. So why not go even further and enjoy snuggling with the real thing, Lucy Haigh, a UCLan Students' Union board member, told Rock FM. "Everyone's going to leave a little more happy than when they came in," Lucy said. "We're going to measure it."
We already know petting dogs helps relax us and keep us healthy. The guide dogs-in-training get something out of the sessions, too: getting used to being around people.
Jim Gold is a veteran journalist who splits his time between Seattle and the Bay Area.