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Students wrestling with the pressures of finals’ week at Dalhousie University in Hailfax, Canada received furry reprieve in the four-legged forms of a Labradoodle, a Sheltie, a St. Bernard, a Dalmatian, and a Golden Retriever. The therapeutic pooches were provided by Therapeutic Paws of Canada, which brings animals to hospitals, schools, and other places where people might need the soothing benefits of canine comfort.
Lulu, a seven-year-old Golden Retriever, spent her afternoon fielding the affections of stressed-out students, a population she became comfortable with via her regular gig as part of TPoC’s “Paws to Read” program, which brings dogs to local libraries to work with children struggling to read. TPoC provides their services free of charge, but accepts donations.
“The Puppy Room” concept was conceived by third-year Environmental Science student Michael Kean and implemented quickly with the full support of the university. “A lot of people are really stressed at this time of year, with exams and papers,” explained Kean. “Many are also missing their own dogs at home too. And some just are looking for a break from their studies.” Promoted purely through social media channels, the “Doctor Dogs” served nearly 500 students in one day alone. The demand was so great that university officials arranged to shuttle students to and from the Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in nearby Burnside, where students could walk dogs or cuddle with kitties at the facility.
When asked how she felt after her time in the Puppy Room, student Rachel Foster enthused, “Relaxed [and] full of happiness. “I don’t have a dog at home, but I really love them.”