With exams and final projects lurking over the shoulders of students, how are they supposed to relax? A beer? A cigarette? In early December 2014, approximately 100 students at Sheridan’s Trafalgar Campus were given a healthier option: therapy dogs.
Therapy dogs from the Oakville chapter of Therapeutic Paws of Canada and their handlers participated in the Sheridan Student Union-organized event. Therapy dogs are frequently used in retirement homes, hospitals and schools to help people in stressful situations take a break from their troubles and clear their minds. “It’s a great way to relieve stress,” said Michael Convery, the owner of Bailey, 8, a yellow Labrador Retriever. “A lot of the students are living away from home and events like these give them time to hang out with a dog and relax from their work.”
With exams and final projects upon them, a little bit of love from a happy face seems to be all students need. “The dogs are full of love,” said Kathleen Glenn, a first-year Child and Youth Worker student. “They give hugs and kisses and it is awesome to just hang out and relax with them.” “I really just love puppies and miss mine,” added Allegra Conty, a first-year Illustration student.
To become a therapy dog, they must first pass an assessment to make sure they can handle the job. “We check to see if they are calm. The dogs are exposed to groups of people and loud noises to make sure they don’t react negatively,” said Joanne Peters, owner of Oliver, 4, a male Havanese.
“They don’t have worries. It really just makes your own go away for a bit” – Allegra Conty
This is the first time that Sheridan College has had the dogs interact with students at the Trafalgar Campus, but the school plans to bring them back next semester for another friendly visit. A smiling furry face is sometimes all students need. “They don’t have worries. It really just makes your own go away for a bit,” said Conty.
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Written by: Michael Rodrigues, a second-year Journalism student at Sheridan.