U of S therapy dog program moves online during COVID-19
April 22, 2020
There will be no “paws” in the comfort provided by St. John Ambulance therapy dogs.
The University of Saskatchewan PAWS Your Stress Therapy Dog program has moved online to continue providing support during COVID-19.
“We are all quickly learning that physical distancing doesn’t have to mean we disconnect from supports in our lives, and this includes therapy dogs. We are fortunate to have the technology to take our service online during COVID-19,” said Colleen Dell, a professor of sociology in the U of S College of Arts and Science and the university’s Research Chair in One Health and Wellness.
Beginning April 20 and until the end of July, PAWS Your Stress events will take place at least twice a week online for U of S students and for the greater Saskatchewan community. The 10-minute Facebook Live events will feature a therapy dog doing an everyday healthy activity, such as going for a walk or grooming.
The program has also partnered with Scholastic Canada for online readings of favourite children’s books. In-training, current and retired campus therapy dog teams will be featured during the book-reading sessions of a specially selected book.
“The therapy dog teams care deeply about the well-being of students, staff and faculty on our campus and the people of Saskatchewan. We hope these virtual visits will be helpful to a lot of people who are isolated right now — kids, youth, seniors and adults,” Dell said.