In addition to our love of providing pet therapy services, PAWS of CNY loves educating students and members of the community on the benefits of pet assisted wellness services. On Monday, November 30, Susan Vaughn and her labrador mix, Bert, had an opportunity to attend a student presentation at SUNY Oswego on the benefits of pet therapy. Vaughn and Bert presented a real-life example of a pet therapy team and shared their experiences volunteering at nursing homes as well as at college student de-stress events.
Vaughn has accompanied Bert to many de-stress events at SUNY Oswego.
“We get… emotional reactions in the regular dorm visits,” said Vaughn. “At one visit a couple weeks ago, two students were in tears while petting Bert. They were happy and sad – they miss[ed] their own dogs and [their homes]. It’s a double-edged sword for us.”
One of the greatest benefits of offering pet therapy services to students away from home and living in dorm rooms, is the ability to bring a little sense of home to those who are missing their families. According to Vaughn,
“Mostly we see smiles but sometimes there are just the long looks in the dogs’ eyes, a kiss on the nose, lots of rubbing of ears. I can tell the kids really miss their dogs and their homes.”
In addition to providing a sense of familiarity and comfort, pet therapy offers a true form of mental health and wellness.
“I think that anything we can do to educate college students, high school students, anyone, about pet therapy will help promote [alternative] kinds of non-traditional mental health treatments that cost little, are fun, and benefit people of all ages,” said Vaughn. “The simple act of petting a dog or cat can help people physically and mentally. Every person we expose to our dogs and cats might remember the good feeling they got when we were around.”
If you would like PAWS of CNY to participate in your student de-stress or educational event, contact us today.