Week five! What does that mean? Exam stress is increasing and anxiety is exponentially booming. In the past year, I have been involved with a walking dog service called Wag. What is Wag? It’s a dog walking service in which you walk dogs and get paid for doing it.
I had a beagle for 16 years of my life. When she passed away, I went to college the following month. I missed the opportunity to walk my dog around the court. I missed the endless licks from my dog. And most of all, I missed the constant unconditional love. It was something I looked forward to every day of the week.
Beagles are a very mysterious and mischievous breed of dog. They get themselves into trouble and often make a mess around the house. However, they are also the most innocent dogs out there. Dogs can have a lifelong effect on people, known to boost happiness, promote laughter and attract love. According to pet care blogger Sandy Wallace, petting dogs and gazing into their eyes releases the “feel good” hormone oxytocin for both people and dogs. Young children can receive a boost of self-fulfillment when matched up with a pet, particularly a dog. I was extremely lucky to have grown up with a dog and watch it grow and develop. It became a regular part of my life.
I first heard about the Wag app from a friend. When I signed up, I was a bit hesitant, but I went for it. Since then, I have walked about 25 dogs and made an average of nine bucks per walk. I have noticed that after I walk a dog, I feel more motivated to do my homework and study. It simply puts me in a good mood, and I receive a bump of joy. I have walked a different breed every time; whether it be a golden retriever, basset hound, or bulldog, they all had a lasting effect on my mood that week.
According to a service dog certification website, students are more equipped to face the challenges of academia with regular visits from a therapy canine. A therapy dog or even interacting with a dog can help improve how you feel. When you first interact with a dog, your automatic instinct is to gravitate toward them. Personally, when I am faced with challenges at college, I know a way to relieve my stress is interacting with an animal, particularly a dog.
In 2011, the American Psychological Association found that pet owners had “greater self-esteem, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.”
Through many studies and evaluations, it has been recognized that a person’s sense of happiness is formed by interactions with their dogs. As a result, when someone has a dog for a portion of their life, that portion of their life is defined as having many more ups than downs in terms of one’s mood. If you have a chance, go walk a dog or even see when the Drexel therapy dogs are on campus!