Stressed by college? Tell the therapy chicken about it

Author:
Updated:
Original:

College students and Woodstock just seem to go together.

Woodstock the chicken, that is ... who frequently attends the weekly sessions at the University of Minnesota where students (or staff) have a chance to take a break from what's troubling them and decompress by curling up with a live animal.

A program called Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS) is back for a second year at the U of M's Twin Cities campus.

Registered therapy animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, occasionally horses and one chicken are available for those who feel like taking a break would do them well. Their human handlers also tag along to the sessions provided Boynton Health Services and the University's Animal Assisted Interactions program.

The Pioneer Press paid a visit to a session this month and heard a veterinarian/professor's account of a student who spent 20 minutes hugging a therapy dog, finally confiding "I just bombed a test."

Tanya Bailey, who leads the Animal Assisted Interactions program and also looks after Woodstock the chicken, tells the newspaper some of the value of Pet Away Worry and Stress is that it gets students to come to the health center. Once there, they can see the a range of other health services available.

But apart from luring students into the health center, Bailey explained when PAWS first started last year that there's evidence petting an animal has health benefits in its own right. She says research suggests it can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormones.

It's true. How many therapy chickens do you know who have their own Twitter feed?

An Animal Humane Society page on therapy animals points out that they are distinct from service animals, which are trained specifically to help handlers with disabilities.

The Pioneer Press says more than 60 animal/human volunteer teams are part of the roster that visit the U of M. Many are aligned with groups that also pay regular visits to hospitals, schools, or elder care centers.

North Star Therapy Animals provides a list of dozens of facilities it visits.

The Minnesota Daily made a video on a visit to a PAWS session last year.

Next Up

Image from iOS (101)

Charges: Driver was drunk, speeding before crash that killed 1-year-old son

A total of five children were in the back seat at the time, according to the charges.

Jeff Gladney

Vikings release Jeff Gladney following domestic violence charge

His release is effective immediately, the team said.

Screen Shot 2021-08-03 at 3.28.56 PM

Body pulled from water near Lebanon Hills Park swimming area

Surveillance footage showed a man walking towards the beach on Sunday.

fire truck

Victims of double-fatal house fire in Wadena County identified

The man and woman died in the early Sunday house fire.

Screen Shot 2021-08-03 at 7.50.23 AM

Charges: Witness thought Austin man was 'joking' before he killed woman

The criminal complaint details what may have led to the 20-year-old's death.

Melvin Carter

Minneapolis and St. Paul to require face masks in city buildings

The mayors are also urging businesses to adopt mask rules for customers.

Reinbold

Charges detail murder of woman by fugitive bomb-maker husband

Eric Reinbold is accused of killing his 34-year-old wife.

Jeff Gladney

Vikings' 2020 first-round pick Gladney indicted by Texas grand jury

If convicted Gladney could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.

face mask

List of places in Minnesota now requiring or recommending face masks

Businesses and organizations are changing their policies in response to the delta variant.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

The 2021 Minnesota State Fair: Everything you need to know

From ticket prices to new foods to health protocols, we've got you covered.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Suspect steals unlocked squad car, leads officers on miles-long chase

The suspect also brandished a shotgun from the stolen vehicle out the window.

Related