Animal petting helps de-stress students


Friendly pony posing for a picture in front of the WREC. Photo credit: Joel Peterson

Chico State once again is hosting its bi-annual de-stress animal event at the WildCat Recreation Center (WREC).

Starting this week and ending next week, students can visit the WREC each day to pet a variety of different animals in order to relieve anxiety during the stressful two weeks of finals preparation.

Two By Two Ranch & Petting Zoo employee showing off animals to bystanders. Photo credit: Joel Peterson
Pony standing over cages full of ducks and chickens. Photo credit: Joel Peterson

Brooke McCall, the coordinator of this program, stated that it has been a Chico State tradition for the past six years, one that will continue for the foreseeable future.

“Studies show that petting an animal for 15 minutes greatly reduces stress,” McCall said. “It also decreases blood pressure and increases breathing, greatly reducing anxiety”.

Each day a different assortment of animals are brought onto campus. On Monday, licensed therapy dogs from Canine Connection were brought in, while on Tuesday the campus coordinated with Two by Two Ranch & Petting Zoo to bring in a mix of rabbits, goats, ponies, and even a tortoise.

McCall also mentioned that there are a variety of other de-stress options offered on campus for students to take advantage of. These consist of free counseling, sports activities, acupuncture, and two zen-dens located in the BMU and Student Services Center that include massage chairs and a quiet space.

“The zen dens were created as a space for students to visit who can not get a therapy/counseling appointment,” McCall said.“These programs increase the wellness and mental health of our students.”

For those students who are too busy or miss out on the de-stress animal events in the next few weeks, McCall saidd that once a month therapy dogs are brought to the Meriam Library on campus.

Jack Lewis can be reached at [email protected].