Animals in classroom bring ‘new energy’ to classes

Chelsey Fisher

There is a positive physiological effect in the brain that occurs when humans interact with animals.

This effect has prompted some faculty and staff at the university to bring pets to class and for the university to utilize therapy dogs, Sheri Clark, associate director of training for the university’s Counseling Center said.

Clark works with the therapy dogs at the counseling center but she said all animals can be therapeutic.

Students are able to have an intimate connection with animals and it is a slightly different physiological reaction than when they have an intimate connection with humans, Clark said.

Interacting with animals can also cause people’s blood pressure to go down as well as their heart rate, Clark said.

Jordan Maunder, a senior French and English major, has had professors bring animals into a classroom setting before.

“It added a new energy to the classroom,” Maunder said.

Having animals in a classroom is slightly distracting, but it also took away from the stress of the classroom, Maunder said.

Assistant French Professor Julin Everett has taken her dog to extra-curricular study sessions at previous universities.

In each case, she was meeting with students outside of class time to review for final exams, Everett said.

Prior to bringing her dog, Everett asked first to ensure none of the students were scared of or allergic to dogs.

“This was a stressful time for students, and I found that having my dog in the room made a huge difference,” Everett said. “She is a very calm dog and the students enjoyed petting her.”

Story: LINDSAY BOOKOUT, News Reporter