Pet reduce stress and add joy to teenagers' lives

November 1, 2019 — by Rohan Kumar and Lihi Shoshani

Junior Oliver Sun de-stresses with his labrador retriever

For many high school students, the antidote for academic stress and pressure happens to be their furry, scaly or feathery friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can increase opportunities to exercise, socialize and decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. WebMD reports that pets also lessen anxiety and boost immunity. Many students can attest to these benefits, cherishing the time they spend with their own pets.

Junior Oliver Sun: My Labrador retriever does a lot to help me de-stress, and just being in his presence helps a lot. He seems to have some sort of natural sense toward whether people are distressed, and he’ll get in their business. He likes to jump up on the couch with me when I’m reading or just curl around my feet when I’m doing homework.

Junior Aileen Liao: My dog helps me take a break from work and take a walk outside. He’s always there to greet me when I come home and acts as one of the constants in my life. When I’m having a bad day or feel stressed, he tries to cheer me up and shares his toys with me. Even when I don’t say anything, my dog is able to tell if something is off when no one else can. I often get carried away in work and don’t take breaks, but my dog sometimes licks my hand or hits my leg to remind me to play with him.

Junior Charlotte Shewchuk: I have an English mastiff, a pug, a bulldog, six chickens and a Betta fish. I’ve always had a lot of animals; we had four dogs and a cat when I was little. They definitely help in terms of being productive and having a regular schedule. Since I have so many animals, I can’t sleep in because they need to be fed and let outside. They’re also just nice to have as companions. When I’m left home alone, it feels less lonely, and I’m never really by myself.

Junior Stefano Corno: I have three cats. They're always there when I get home or go to bed, so I'm never lonely. They also like to sit between my arms when I'm doing homework, which sounds distracting but actually helps me focus. Also, they teach me to be more responsible. The oldest, Blackie, is around 15 years old and the younger ones, Boo Radley and Jason, are around 3 years old. They're all rescues: Blackie is from a shelter, and the two younger ones, who are siblings, are from my mom's colleague, who works at a shelter as well. 

Blackie is the left one (oldest) Boo Radley is the middle and Jason is the right one

Sophomore Catherine Kan: I adopted two Holland Lop rabbits two years ago from a lady who didn’t want them anymore. They’re a lot like dogs in a way; they come up to you and play with you, so it really helps when I’m sad or stressed out to go play with them. They like to interact with people. I guess they make me more productive by helping me de-stress.

Sophomore Vivian Wu: Kiwi is really calm around me when I’m doing homework. However, she’s very active and silly when she notices that I have free time. I think my pets really help keep me company while I’m doing work.

Sophomore Ryan Huang: I guess my cat Dexter helps me by keeping me company and distracting me when I’m stressed and lets me calm down. Dexter always likes to climb up into cabinets, on top of cupboards and our roof, which always helps me laugh. 

Sophomore Stone Mootoka: I have two cats, Bob and Jack. Bob is more social and is the friendliest three-legged cat you’ll ever meet. He enjoys basking in the sun in our backyard and licking people for no reason. Jack is the less social one and is blind in one eye. Jack hides for most of the day, but if he knows you, he can be friendly and loving. Bob and Jack help me when I’m stressed out because they’re almost like my best friends and are always there when I need them most. I enjoy petting or playing with them when I want to de-stress. This helps me detox, so I can focus on drawing, doing chores or doing my homework.

Senior Ben Ryan: My pet’s name is Sammy. He’s a mutt and scared of everything. When I take him on walks/runs, it makes him really happy, which in turn makes me happy and encourages me to be active.

Senior Alex Pan: I have a dog named Pekka, a 5-year-old German Shepard. He loves to play catch and is very protective of us. He often fights with the deer and skunks around our house. He is very cute and brings me rocks when I’m sad.

Senior Ashwini Achutharaman: My dog, Sammy, is a 10-year-old Bouvier des Flandres. He helps me with stress relief, keeps my family active by playing and hiking and makes us more social with other dog owners.

Senior Krisha/Sophomore Kaasha Minocha

Kaasha: My dog, Tintin, is a 2-year-old white/cream Maltipoo that my family and I absolutely adore. He helps us by relieving my stress, providing unconditional love and always being there for me.

He’s obsessed with food, and when he’s really hungry he’ll let you know by bothering you and licking you and putting his paw on your shoulder, which makes me burst out laughing. I also love that we’ve taught him to shake our hand, so he lifts up his paws when we tell him to.

Krisha: I have a 2-year old Maltipoo named Tintin. He definitely is a de-stressor because he makes everyone in the house happy and makes the environment more positive.

Junior Vincent Lu: My two cats help me de-stress, although they sometimes annoy me when I'm trying to study. Otherwise they are fun to have around, they help my mom a lot because she sometimes has depression.



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