Also, human beings have opposable thumbs.
Nevertheless, upon reading this story, Poodle Bitch began to wonder just how much longer those opposable thumbs are going to keep human beings at the top of the species ladder.
Tufts University is throwing stressed-out students a bone: therapy dogs to play with during their final exams.
Colleges have long extended library hours and offered extra counselling [sic] around test time. Now they’re adopting quirky stress-fighting events for students, who face a tough job market in addition to finishing up the semester. From dog visits to free midnight massages to laser tag, students are getting help navigating those last days before turning in final papers and taking finals.
Poodle Bitch has heard of the use of "therapy dogs" in helping human children with life-threatening conditions, and elderly people who enjoy the nonjudgmental companionship that most dogs provide (Poodle Bitch admits that she herself can occasionally be judgmental -- she is going to be judgmental in the next sentence). However, Poodle Bitch finds it absurd that otherwise healthy college students would be so "stressed-out" as to require the services of animals that might otherwise be employed in the comfort of children who are facing actual, real-life stress situations.
She wonders why it is that colleges have taken it as part of their duty to ensure that students receive "free" (aren't they paying tuition, and aren't all of these "free" services included in the cost of said tuition?) "stress-fighting events" (oh, what a wordsmith it was who composed the original AP article!). Poodle Bitch was under the impression that colleges were supposed to prepare human beings for the real world. Just to be sure, Poodle Bitch went to Tufts' website where she found, amidst a great deal of flowery academic purple prose and incoherence, the following "Teaching Philosophy":
Tufts is a world-class research institution with an abiding commitment to excellence in teaching and learning. What happens in the classroom is the essence of the Tufts experience–active dialogue, engaging coursework that extends into the field and around the world and opportunities to think outside the textbook and ask the big questions that really matter.
How can an academic institution on the one hand encourage its students to "ask the big questions that really matter," and then on the other hand tell its students that facing the blank page of a Blue Book creates stress akin to that experienced by a small child facing a debilitating disease?
Surely those "big questions that really matter" are more stressful than a mere exam?
That said, Poodle Bitch does note that Tufts's teaching philosophy does not mention that the students might be asked to come up with answers to or solutions for those "big questions that really matter." Apparently, to Tufts, the asking of the questions is enough. Once a student has asked one of those "big questions," s/he can then spend a few hours seeking comfort in the nonjudgmental paws of an exploited therapy dog, who no doubt believes that said college student is facing some horrible disease.
Poodle Bitch is an optimist, yet there are times when she wonders just how much longer human beings are going to need their opposable thumbs.
Poodle Bitch wonders if the young Tufts University RA shouldn't be more ashamed of himself?