You’ve reached the landing page for the University of Guelph’s Take A Paws program, organized by Student Housing Services and the University’s Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) Advisory Committee. We are excited to share that Take A Paws programming has expanded and is happening each and every week this year! Check the schedule to see which event(s) work for you!
Spots are limited! To ensure your chance to relax with the pups at an upcoming event, register at GryphLife.ca
Download a copy of the Fall 2019 - Winter Schedule.
See a picture and read a bio on each of our teams!
Check out our Photo Gallery!
Looking for a picture from a recent event? Check out the complete Photo Gallery on GryphLife!
About the Program
So, Why the Therapy Dogs?
In addition to being super cute, there is mounting evidence supporting the benefit of therapy animal programs on university campuses. In a 2016 survey of Ontario university students, almost half of the respondents reported experiencing overall stress levels that were “more than average” in the previous 12 months (American College Health Association [ACHA], 2016). Further, over a third reported feeling very sad and just less than a third reported feeling very lonely in the previous two weeks (ACHA, 2016). These findings shine light on the difficulties students face in maintaining their mental wellbeing and highlight a need for supports. Animal visitation programs are one such support, providing “opportunities for participants to interact with animals (usually dogs), with the goal of alleviating distress” (Crossman, Kazdin & Knudson, 2015, p. 650). In 2015, almost half of Canadian universities offered some form of therapy dog program (Dell et al., 2015). These programs, termed animal-assisted activities (AAAs), have proven to be an effective method for reducing university students’ stress levels (Wood, Ohlsen, Thompson, Hulin & Knowles, 2018).
History of Our Program
Animal Assisted Activities at the University of Guelph began with events organized by Peggy Pritchard from the University of Guelph Library, in partnership with volunteer-dog pairs from St. John Ambulance and Therapeutic Paws of Canada. The Central Students’ Association (CSA) and Curtain Call Productions also hosted events for students to learn how to interact with service dogs in partnership with campus volunteers training service dogs. From these early opportunities for student-dog interactions, the University’s Take A Paws program evolved. The program is currently coordinated by Student Housing Services and the Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) Advisory Committee, in partnership with St. John’s Ambulance, Therapeutic Paws of Canada and numerous on-campus partners.
Looking for More Information?
Questions? Interested in hosting therapy dogs on campus? Looking to volunteer with our Take A Paws Volunteer Corps?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any and all inquiries and we’ll get back to you promptly.