Paws Your Stress: pups share love with students


Exams can weigh heavily on students’ shoulders in December, but on Friday, a group of pups lent a paw to any student who needed some relief.

Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) visited Sheridan with a group of well-behaved dogs for the Sheridan Student Union’s Paws Your Stress event, and gave students the opportunity to spend 10 stress-relieving minutes petting the dogs.

In small groups, students were allowed into the fenced-off area in the Trafalgar campus library to interact with the dogs.

The line to get in was long, and wound around the corner in front of the library as students waited for their turn.

Charlotte Barkey, a student in the Makeup for Media and Creative Arts program, had already been waiting for 20 minutes and still had a few dozen people ahead of her.

Barkey, who also attended last year’s puppy room event, said she chose to wait because the dogs would help relieve some stress.

“We have a lot going on at once, so it’s a lot to do. It’s a lot of stress,” said Barkey.

Once inside, the environment was all wagging tails and smiling faces as the therapy dogs shared their love with students.


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Therapeutic Dogs has over 600 volunteers across Canada; their own pets are brought to the free events.

Heidi Van Willegen, Co-Team Leader at Therapeutic Paws of Canada’s Oakville chapter, says the dogs chosen for the program all go through an evaluation process.

“There’s no obedience really involved, they have to be born with a great personality,” said Van Willegen.

The dogs are evaluated for their personality in a two-hour test and then go on to be tested with other dogs. If they pass that, they do monitored visits at a seniors’ home with someone who has been with the organization for a long time.

If all goes well, the dogs are then able to go visit on their own, as they did at Sheridan.

The event was put on this year as part of an awareness campaign. Each month there is a different issue the Sheridan Student Union concentrates on.

“(We) base social issues and campaigns around the theme of each month, and this month the main focus was de-stressing the student body,” said Christopher Burwick, executive Vice President of the SSU at the college’s Trafalgar Campus.

“This event does have a history, and it comes around every year in (the library) and it’s always held with the support of the library,” he said.

Burwick also said the event could be held more often in the future.

For those who prefer a feline companion, the SSU is talking about the possibility of having cats at a future event.