Our New Friends on Campus!
In recent years, the healing power of therapy dogs has gained widespread recognition, as these furry companions have been proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and feelings of loneliness. The evidence supporting the positive impact of animals on our overall wellbeing continues to grow, leaving us with no doubt about the benefits they offer.
However, the presence of real dogs on campus can present challenges, as not all students feel comfortable around them. The question then arose: “Could we replicate the soothing effects of therapy dogs in a way that would be accessible to everyone?” The answer? A resounding yes, and not just one, but a whole litter of wellbeing companions!
Allow us to introduce you to our new wellbeing friends scattered all around our College campus. But these aren’t your ordinary toys; they’re weighted sensory dogs. Just like their living counterparts, the benefits of weighted blankets or toys, such as these dogs, are well-documented.
These lovable canines help alleviate anxiety and promote mental wellness through deep pressure stimulation. In essence, they offer a comforting, hug-like sensation that triggers the release of soothing brain chemicals. For students who may sometimes find themselves overwhelmed by sensory overload or anxiety and struggle to self-regulate, these weighted sensory dogs can be an invaluable resource.
Danielle Spark, our Director of Pastoral Care, expressed her thoughts on these unique wellbeing aids, saying, “We believe their positive impact has been far-reaching. We’ve seen countless smiles and moments of pure joy. Students have even left heartwarming notes for the ‘owners’ of these dogs, expressing how much they enjoyed their ‘walk’ with ‘Oakley’ during recess and some spirited debates about whether ‘Milo’ should be officially named Milo!”
Regardless of the debates, one thing remains clear: Who could resist the opportunity to embrace these utterly adorable pups?