Georgian collars student stress with paws and play
April 05, 2013

The end of the academic year is fast approaching and Georgian College’s Owen Sound Campus is piloting a program with St. John Ambulance to reduce the stress and anxiety students can feel during the busy exam period. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 15 to 19, students can drop by the Students’ Administrative Council office to enjoy the unconditional love of a therapy dog.

Woman and dog play - Therapy Dog program

The Therapy Dog program has been a success in hospitals and nursing homes in the Owen Sound community.

“St. John Ambulance has organized an impressive group of 17 volunteers and 18 dogs to visit the campus,” says David Clark, First Generation Student Success Mentor at Georgian and key organizer of the initiative. “We know therapy dogs are a great benefit in hospitals, nursing homes and retirement homes. It is our hope that taking a few minutes to pet or play with a therapy dog will alleviate stress and help students perform more confidently during their final evaluations.”

The initiative is sponsored by the First Generation Project at Georgian, part of Student Success services.

In the future, Georgian hopes to expand it to include other high stress times during the year such as

  • three to four weeks into the semester when students may be struggling with the transition and homesickness
  • mid-term exams

“We’re very excited to be coming to Georgian College – it’s a first for us,” says Kaye Parker, co-ordinator of the Therapy Dog program at St. John Ambulance’s Grey Bruce Huron branch. “Our goal is to ease some of the pressure students are feeling and offer warm companionship.”