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Louie Villanueva

Pet Therapy is back at the University of Calgary

By Saima Asad, September 27 2016 —

The University of Calgary has gone to the dogs again. The Students’ Union hosted their first Pet Therapy session of the academic year on Sept. 23 in That Empty Space on the first floor of MacHall.

The dogs arrived at 12:00 p.m. It only took a few minutes before a line of eager attendees reached past Subway.

While Pet Therapy is typically a stress reduction initiative, many students came on Sept. 23 just to have a good time with the furry friends. First-year kinesiology student Allison Mulhall said she wasn’t feeling particularly stressed about university at this point in the academic year, but attended anyway.

“I just want[ed] to play with the dogs,” Mulhall said.

SU vice-president student life Patrick Ma coordinated the event.

“Hosting a Pet Therapy session this early helps bring more awareness of the event,” Ma said.

According to Ma, Pet Therapy will be held once a month throughout the school year.

“We usually add a few more when we host Stress-Less Week in December, when students are under a lot more pressure from school,” he said.

Ma said 200 students attend the monthly sessions on average. The dogs are brought in from a volunteer-based organization called the Pet Access League Society (PALS), who claim “medical studies prove that pets improve the emotional and physical well being of humans.”

PALS requires all of their dogs to be a minimum one-year old.

“They must know basic commands and be comfortable in new situations and being touched by groups of stressed students,” Ma said.

The next Pet Therapy session will be held on Oct. 28.

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