The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Pets believed to offer emotional support

By Kenya Foster/ reporter

Judy and her therapy dog Kathy visit TR Campus before spring finals to offer stress relief and emotional support for students.
Judy and her therapy dog Kathy visit TR Campus before spring finals to offer stress relief and emotional support for students.

Balancing schoolwork and other responsibilities can be overwhelming, but the companionship of an animal for some students, like South’s Jody Lancaster, can help. 

“I can have mounds of homework and online tests due,” Lancaster said. “But when I walk in the door and see my dog Bella, all of it disappears for a moment, and my attention is on her and how happy she is to see me.”

Nearly a quarter of students surveyed believed their pets help them get through difficult times in life and school, according to Ohio State University researchers.

“We found that a lot of young adults are choosing to have an animal companion for important reasons,” said Sara Staats, lead author of the study and psychology professor emeritus at Ohio State’s Newark Campus. “Many feel their pets will help get them through difficult and stressful situations, and many more say that without their pet, they would feel lonely.”

College enters students’ stress realm, Staats said.

“College is a very stressful environment for them, and sometimes they can feel isolated or overwhelmed with change,” she said.

Anxiety and depression are becoming more common with college students, according to the results of an American College Health Association survey this spring. Of 95,000 students, 23.2 percent were identified with anxiety and 15.4 percent with depression.

Final exams cause stress at semester’s end. Tips on how to study and prioritize can help, but for some like SE’s Kyondra Douglas, spending time with their pet helps.

“During finals, it seems like I have no time for anyone, but I always find time for my dog Max,” she said. “I’ll take him for a walk or play with him, which surprisingly helps.”

Volunteer options exist, including Animal Hope in Fort Worth which offers a program 9 a.m.-6 p.m. each day allowing someone to take a dog out of the center for the day to walk, shop at the pet store or even spend the night.

Many students come to adopt pets or volunteer, Animal Hope chief director Kim Ovard said.

“I think it’s good for emotional support,” she said. “Animals have a calming effect.”

However, students need to remember one key issue: Pets are not cheap. Vet bills, food and toys can take a toll on the pocketbook. Students should look at their budgets and time availability before deciding to adopt an animal.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian