Puppies perk up campus blues


Photo illustration by: Jade Raymond Carter and his human, Kourtney Pickens, are out playing around campus.

Photo illustration by: Jade Raymond Carter and his human, Kourtney Pickens, are out playing around campus.
Photo illustration by: Jade Raymond
Carter and his human, Kourtney Pickens, are out playing around campus.
By Paul Sell
Staff Reporter

With finals week just around the corner, stress and anxiety are reaching a boiling point for some students, which could be solved by many things, including massages, hanging out with friends or even playing with puppies. This is one way that Dalhousie University, according to their website, has dealt with the stress of students during finals week. They have dubbed a “Puppy Room,” where students are allowed to come visit and play with the puppies in between taking cumulative tests and writing lengthy essays.

“I feel like that would be very productive,” said Donye Smith. “Dogs are very therapeutic.  Everyone is stressing out, and if you were in a room with dogs and puppies, getting connected and be able to relax for a second, I think that would be beneficial.”

Due to EWU campus policies on pet control, according to Karen Wichman, only service and guide animals are allowed inside campus buildings. Pets are allowed outdoors, provided that they are under control of their owners. Failure to comply with these policies could result in not only arrest, but the impoundment of the pets as well.

Wichman, EWU Director of Facilities and Planning, has been attempting to lift these policies for the dormitories, but due to the ventilation of some dorms, there would be a risk of pet hair drifting about, stirring up certain allergies.

“Right now, it doesn’t look like the policy on pets will change,” said Wichman. “It’s more about EWU meeting the city codes of Cheney, and there is very little that we can do about that.”

Still, some EWU students would not mind if there were more dogs on campus, if only to brighten their moods while walking from class.

“[Dogs] are companions to students, even if they’re not their pets,” said Carolyn Hanson. “To be able to see them on campus might be comforting or helpful, especially with first-year students who might be struggling with homesickness or feeling isolated.”

Kristen Pool is an EWU student who loves her dogs, but says that she’s only seen two dogs on Eastern’s campus during her time here, which for her is “not nearly enough.”

“I think that dogs make people happier,” said Pool. “I’ve seen dogs go around, when people are eating, and people will come over to the dog and pet it, which starts conversations. I think that dogs are better way for people to interact with each other, and I think more dogs would only increase interactions between students.”

Others see nothing but positive emotions and a park-like atmosphere coming from more dogs around campus.

“An environment with animals is always more emotionally enriching,” said Aubrey Weeks. “The simple action of petting an animal and interacting with one [releases] certain chemicals into your bloodstream that are known to relax you. That’s one of the main reasons why they bring animals to retirement homes and hospitals, because it’s conducive for a healing environment.”

However, even students that were behind the idea of more dogs on campus pointed out the problems with the presence of dogs on campus.

“You have to clean up after dogs, and that’s not always something dog owners will do,” said Hanson. “You’d have an increased issue with custodial staff having to pick up poop, as well as security concerns about aggressive dogs. They’re still wild animals, they can react in ways that you wouldn’t expect, even if it’s a dog that you’ve had many years.”

Not only are there problems with allergies and improper vaccinations, but there is also the problem of how well-behaved the dog is.

“I’m not a fan of dogs walking around in public places,” said Alissa Shariepa. “At home, as a pet, it’s good. I like animals, but having them all over the place would get on my nerves more than relieve stress.”

While there are both advantages and disadvantages to having more dogs on campus, it seems that most students can agree that dogs would brighten their day. And maybe even chase off some of the squirrels if the dogs were to remain under control.

“I could see some sort of incident happening that is completely controllable but it wasn’t human error, like a bite or scuffle and someone ends up getting hurt,” said Core Draine. “I think you have to have some sort of control or restraint.”