American colleges and universities, ever vigilant to the needs of its snowflakes in residence, have taken a new step toward easing test anxiety. Several schools have brought “therapy llamas” onto campus to help relieve student stress during the exam period.
Radford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of South Florida have recruited llamas to help treat pre-test jitters, according to Campus Reform. Whether these animals apparently degrees in psychotherapy was not clarified.
Radford’s December “Library Stress Buster” featured not only llamas to pet as a way of reducing stress, but bunny rabbits.
— 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 that it 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 begun receiving visits from animals:
This report, by Rob Shimshock, was cross posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.