MRU needs a puppy room!
Pet therapy coming to universities across Canada
You know that feeling you get around exam time when you’re so stressed out you can barely think straight? There’s an adorable cure for that — puppies.
At the end of last year, Dalhousie University announced that they were opening a puppy room three days per week to help students cope with end-of-semester stress.
The puppy room, which, as its name implies, is a room full of dogs for students to play with, is run through Therapeutic Paws of Canada. The group advocates for the therapeutic use of pets to combat depression, loneliness and high blood pressure, and commonly takes the dogs to senior’s homes and hospitals.
“I’ll be lining up to see the puppies next week! When I was living in residence in my first year at Dalhousie, they brought the dogs to us. Best stress relief ever,” said Celene Burnell, a Dalhousie University student on Facebook.
In response to the massive puppy room success at Dalhousie, Mount Royal University welcomed its own furry visitors to help students relieve stress during exam time.
Wellness Services, partnered with the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), brought three rescue dogs to Main Street for a couple hours on Dec. 5.
Unlike larger university campuses, the dogs were only temporary visitors to MRU. At the University of Ottawa, they have a dog that keeps office hours, while Dalhousie’s puppy room is a place where students can go at all hours of the day.
According to Charmene Brewer, health education coordinator at MRU, there are plans to continue the pet therapy in April 2013 during the exam period. “The students loved it for sure. We had a great response.”
Along with other methods of stress relief promoted by Wellness Services, the dogs are there to help combat stress and anxiety in the same way as other relief tools, such as massage therapy, sleep kits and a dance party.
Brewer explained that MRU had considered pet therapy for some time, but due to conflict with volunteer hours and agencies, it never worked out.
“Ideally we would have them come for three or four days, or a few weeks, but its volunteer based and we can’t pay for it,” said Brewer.
Although universities such as the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie have dogs that are on campus nearly full-time, Brewer explains that MRU does not have the ability or the funds to accommodate dogs.
When asked whether MRU had plans to create its own puppy room in the future, Brewer stated: “We don’t have plan to have a puppy room or dog room on campus.”