PAWS of CNY, Inc., in partnership with the Syracuse University Maxwell School of Public Affairs’ Community Link Program, has conducted research that indicates the positive emotional benefits of pet therapy for college students. The data was collected from 46 Syracuse University students and faculty members who attended an on-campus PAWS of CNY pet therapy event, and 41 students who attended a similar event at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego. Seventy-seven percent of respondents were aged 18-24. The survey findings demonstrated a potential causal link to positive health and emotional benefits of pet therapy, as 83 percent of survey respondents reported that they felt “extremely happy” after attending the PAWS of CNY event.
In addition to the significant number of respondents who reported their pet therapy interaction left them feeling “extremely happy:”
- 80% stated they felt extremely interested
- 53% stated they felt moderately or quite a bit hopeful
- 92% stated they felt very slightly or not at all nervous
- 98% stated they felt very slightly or not at all worried
- 96% stated they felt very slightly or not at all sad
PAWS of CNY has been providing pet-assisted wellness services in Central New York for over 15 years. It began providing pet therapy services to college campuses over a decade ago to help de-stress and provide emotional support to students, particularly around the time of mid-terms and finals.
“Our volunteers have witnessed how much our pet therapy visits impact college students,” said Jessica Marabella, PAWS of CNY President. “The research findings we were able to obtain thanks to our partnership with the Community Link Program helps to support what we have long believed about the therapeutic benefits of dogs and cats for college students.”
The Community Link Program pairs a Syracuse University Maxwell Policy Studies student with an organization to conduct surveys, compile data, and report findings on their behalf. The PAWS of CNY survey data was collected in February of 2018, and the final report was presented to the PAWS of CNY Board of Directors on April 11.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Community Link Program,” said Marabella. “Our research student, Evan Torrisi, provided a high-quality, insightful report that will benefit us as we continue to identify the areas of greatest need in our community that our pet therapy services can support.”