The Student Academic Success Service (SASS) and Health Promotion offices recently joined forces to launch an animal therapy pilot program for University of Ottawa students. This initiative allows individuals who may be experiencing anxiety or living through difficult or stressful situations to spend time with Tundra, a therapy dog trained specifically to help in these types of situations.
The person behind the idea is Audrey Giles, an associate professor at the School of Human Kinetics. She approached SASS and Health Promotion about creating the program, which has been greeted with open arms. Giles, who has a very strong interest in animal therapy, was by Tundra’s side throughout the entire time she was doing her certification, which attests to Tundra’s ability to do the things a therapy dog is required to do.
Murray Sang, director of SASS, believes this program will definitely be a great help to lots of students who are feeling stressed or anxious. It will also help comfort students who haven’t been able to spend time with their family pets since they left home for university.
Studies have shown the benefits animal therapy provides by reducing a person’s level of stress and anxiety.
Students are welcome to come meet Tundra and give her a hug and a scratch behind the ear during her next visit on campus. She will be at the Health Promotion office on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The office is located in the hallway between Morisset and Montpetit (UCU 203).
You can also follow Tundra’s adventures on Twitter: @TundraDawg