Puppy rooms?

Sakuya Uehera , Reporter

“(Dogs) increase happiness in people,” Theater teacher Barb Whitlock said. “Puppy rooms can calm students down, make them happy, and then they will be (in) a better state of mind.”

Whitlock is trying  to have a puppy room as a part of her classroom, in order to reduce students’ stress and put them in better moods, especially during finals week. Her plan is to have a dog therapy room called “puppy room” during finals week, and students can come and play with puppies or full-sized dogs. Whitlock believes that this puppy room will help in reducing students’ stress.

In fact, some research shows that animals can help with healing some diseases, such as ADHD and PTSD. According to dogtime.com, animals can provide some benefits for people, such as relieving depression, reducing anxiety and decreasing stress. Whitlock says  the nursing home her grandmother was staying at had days dedicated to playing with puppies. On those particular days, Whitlock says her grandmother was much happier. Not only have nursing homes adopted puppy rooms but a some hospitals and colleges have started puppy rooms to make people feel more comfortable. Indiana University (IU) is one of the colleges that have started this project, and Whitlock wants to bring this idea to the high school.

“When you are in the better mood, everything around you gets better,” Whitlock said. “(A puppy room) helps students with exams or in the stressful week. We are here to help them.”

However, there are some problems to start this project. Her main concern is about allergies to dogs. Some students might have a dog allergy, and they might not be able to enjoy the puppy room. To make the room safe, she needs to find non-allergenic dogs. Also, another issue is the source of the dogs. She is planning to find someone who has connection with breeders or contact IU. Whitlock says there is some red tape to go through, so she needs a little more research to start this.

Junior Gage Tinsley is looking forward to this project. He has done animal therapy before. Tinsley says he would love to visit the puppy room. However, senior Hunter Hagan says he would not go. This is simply because he doesn’t have much time to play with puppies, and also because he has  dogs in his house; therefore he is not so interested in this idea.

Assistant principal Amy Boone says having the puppy room in the school would be difficult. She says there are too many problems to have puppies in school. For example, as Whitlock says, there are a lot of students who are allergic to dogs. Also, dogs might bite students. According to Boone, schools have asked if they could bring dogs in. However, it hasn’t happened because of those constraints. Boone says schools don’t  take either side of this idea of the puppy room, but it will not be possible until it goes through all the appropriate procedures and protocols, such as proving that the dogs are safe and non-allergenic.