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When life is ruff: Finding comfort with pet therapy 

By Mai-Lan Bui, September 22 2023—

Coming home after a rough (or should I say ruff) day gets completely erased the moment you see your pet coming to greet you. There is something special about having a companion who will always be waiting for you, and it is even rarer to have a companion with whom you are always happy. This is what a pet is, and this is what they love to do for their owner. A beacon of light, we can expect these creatures to turn our gloomiest days into rays of sunshine. To many, sharing your life with a pet companion gives us a friendship unlike any other. 

Having a pet is like having a therapist who only seeks repayment in belly rubs, treats, and cuddles. They can sense when you’re down, and they will offer comfort without judgment. Their presence is a source of pure happiness, and we know that they will always love us unconditionally. When you have had a hard day at school and work or experienced any hardships that got you bummed out, your pet does not ask for an explanation. They will snuggle with you, communicating that they will always be there for you. The love we share with our pets transcends all sorts of boundaries and barriers; it is a universal language of love and friendship that people from all walks of life have the wonderful privilege of experiencing. 

For those who do not have pets at home and want to meet some dogs, I want to bring attention to Pet Therapy offered by the Students’ Union (SU) and the Pet Acess League Society (PALS). Whether you are dealing with stress, anxiety, or both, or just want to pet some friendly dogs, pet therapy on campus will be worth your while as you destress and find comfort in these adorable creatures. 

Pet therapy can be extremely beneficial to both mental and physical health. It is a therapeutic approach involving interactions between people, trained animals and qualified volunteers, which aims to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance one’s emotional well-being, and provide a sense of connection and companionship. You will find that each dog has a unique personality and their own story that has led them to where they are now. It is truly inspiring to see how kind and loyal dogs are, and it reminds me how lucky I am to have had the privilege of being with my furry friend for 16 years of my life.

From personal experience, the pet therapy dogs at the university are extremely popular, so the lineup to see these friendly creatures can get long since there can only be small groups of students in That Empty Space at a time to not overstimulate, overwhelm and overcrowd the pets. With this in mind, please plan accordingly so that you can meet the lovely dogs and get to your next class in time.

The dogs are planning on coming back in October and during Stressless Week in November and December. You can get more details on pet therapy days on posters plastered around campus as well as by visiting the SU’s calendar of events.

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