Doggies take over the Dell

Caroline Wilkerson, Copy Editor~

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On the afternoon of  Thursday, October 4, students, faculty, and staff at the University of Lynchburg enjoyed an afternoon of stress-free, doggy-time in the Dell.

Junior, Elissa Presslein, said, “I literally look forward to Doggies in the Dell every year. I had a test today, and this not only gave me something to look forward to, but also served as a great stress relief for me.”

Every spring and fall, during high stress times at the University of Lynchburg, dogs from around the community meet in the Dell to allow students to pet, hold, and play with.

According to AnimalsSmart.org, “Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. These hormonal changes can help a nervous child feel more relaxed about reading aloud. Reduced stress can also benefit physical health. In a 2001 study, researchers found that pet-owning patients with high blood pressure could keep their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than patients without pets.”

Kristen Cooper, director of Residence Life at the University of Lynchburg, as well as the coordinator for Doggies in the Dell, said, “Doggies in the Dell was designed to bring students, faculty, and staff together in an informal manner, while also providing something enjoyable for students during a time of high stress, like midterm and final exams.”

When asked about her thoughts on Doggies in the Dell, Nina Caldwell, a freshman, said, “I grew up around dogs and I know firsthand how therapeutic it is to be around dogs. I think Doggies in the Dell is a great opportunity for students to de-stress with a dog for a little while in their busy schedules.”

This year, Doggies in the Dell was as a Passport Event for any GS100 class. Every year, freshmen at the University are required to take Freshman Seminar, a class designed to integrate first year students into college, as well as a way to get them involved on campus. At this year’s event, Spiritual Life also handed out free t-shirts.

Getting involved on campus is a great way to make friends, experience something new, and create a better college experience overall. Doggies in the Dell is just one of many ways that a student can get involved on campus in a fun and enjoyable way.

The next Doggie in the Dell event will be held in the spring.