Colleges are recruiting “therapy llamas” to comfort stressed students during testing season, according to a Tuesday report.
Radford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of South Florida have brought llamas to their campuses to help students relieve stress during the exam period, reported Campus Reform.
Radford’s December “Library Stress Buster” featured rabbits and llamas for students to pet.
— McConnell Library (@mclibru) December 6, 2017
“DUDE NO ONE TOLD ME THERE WAS [sic] THERAPY LLAMAS ON CAMPUS I TOTALLY WOULD’VE WORN MY LLAMA PAJAMAS TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH THEM wow ok bye,” one Radford student tweeted.
UC Berkeley hosted a similar event, but some questioned whether it was worthwhile, with student Jared Brewer writing an op-ed in which he stated “evidence seems to suggest that [human-animal-interaction] may have ‘small-to-medium’ effects on distress. But it’s not clear whether it’s really the animals themselves that account for these effects.”
Berkeley student Daniel Shephard was more critical of the event, calling it “silly” and suggesting they caused people to pay attention to animals instead of humans.
The University of South Florida’s center for student well-being hosted a “Paws and Relax” November event, with the center claiming “as feelings of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion are at their peak during this time, petting animals for even just a few minutes can help boost your mood and reduce these negative feelings.”
Colleges are not the only institutions making use of llamas as therapy animals; hospitals have also received visits from the animals.
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