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Update: Dalhousie to open 'Puppy Room' for stressed students

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Update: Dalhousie to open 'Puppy Room' for stressed students

Postby oneh2obabe » Nov 29th, 2012, 9:16 pm

University student union is bringing in therapy dogs during exam period

CBC News
Posted: Nov 29, 2012 10:04 PM AT
Last Updated: Nov 29, 2012 9:52 PM AT

These St. Bernard dogs will be heading to university next week.
Image

Dalhousie University in Halifax is turning to some big, slobbery experts to help students deal with the stress of upcoming exams.

The student union is opening a Puppy Room on Tuesday where students can hang out with several dogs, including Roc, a St. Bernard who happens to be a therapy dog.

"They can come in and sit down, they can pat the dogs, talk to the dogs," said his owner, Mark Grant. "That's our hope – that the dogs will bring as much comfort to the individuals that we're going to meet as the individuals will bring to the dogs."

Roc will be joined by other dogs, including a Dalmatian and a golden retriever.

"A lot of the folks that we're going to have the pleasure of seeing probably have dogs back home. They miss their dogs, and just want to hug a dog," said Grant.

"These dogs will allow them to forget what they're doing for a few minutes. They'll just enjoy that friendship."

Lineups expected

Dalhousie student Michael Kean pitched the idea after his friends who attend McGill in Montreal raved about a dog therapy program there.

"It's a great idea," he said. "There's no downfall about therapy dogs. Students, we're stressed out, don't know what to do, and they're fluffy. It comes down to that."

The idea was first pitched online and it received an instant reaction.

"We haven't printed a poster yet but it's been shared 1,600 times on Facebook," said Gavin Jardine of the Dalhousie Student Union.

With the overwhelming response, the student union quickly realized there may be lineups when doors open on Tuesday. The group has already come up with a way to expand the program.

"We're hoping to set up a partnership with the SPCA," said Jardine. "So they can walk dogs if they're sick of waiting in line."

"It's just a win-win on all fronts," said Kean, who is thrilled his suggestion is drawing such a response.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... rsity.html
Last edited by oneh2obabe on Dec 4th, 2012, 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dalhousie to open 'Puppy Room' for stressed students

Postby Static » Nov 29th, 2012, 10:13 pm

Awesome.
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Re: Dalhousie to open 'Puppy Room' for stressed students

Postby oneh2obabe » Dec 4th, 2012, 8:50 pm

Students flood Dalhousie 'Puppy Room' with open arms

It appears that man's best friend is now Dalhousie's best stress reliever.

More than 300 students lined up at the Halifax university Tuesday for their chance to spend a few minutes with therapy dogs. Through the afternoon, the wait to get into the university's new puppy room reached nearly 45 minutes.

The student union decided to offer the program after one student suggested it on an online forum. The plan was to give students a few minutes to relax with their new fuzzy friends and forget the stress of this month's exam period.

"We just saw one dog and the whole atmosphere lifted," said a grinning Jennie Evamy-Hill. The student beamed at the thought of spending a few minutes with a four-legged canine. "I'm not a cat person, I like dogs more."

Evamy-Hill left her two dogs at home when she went to school. She said she missed the company an animal offers.

"It's definitely a taste of home before I go back."

As the doors opened, students crowded around different dogs, each taking a turn hugging and patting the animals. The dogs ate up the attention.

"It's better than studying," said Sue-Ellen McInnis. "I'd rather be here than the library."

"I'm not thinking about exams. I'm thinking about puppies," said student Meghan Chen, who didn't mind at all that she had to wait in line.

While the animals were actually fully grown trained therapy dogs, the idea for the so-called puppy room spread quickly on Twitter, inspiring other schools to consider starting their own animal therapy project.

Donald Le Blanc, the team leader in charge of the dogs, said he wasn't surprised by the overwhelming joy in the room after his own history with dogs.

"I personally suffered from depression most my life, and when I got my first dog about 12 years ago now, he made a tremendous difference in my life. He brought me out of my shell," Le Blanc said.

He said the dogs and students were a natural fit, and the dog owners were happy to help them out.

The puppy room is scheduled to be open for three afternoons.
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