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SFU students ease exam time woes with puppy love

November 18, 2015
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By Wan Yee Lok

A long line formed in the Saywell Hall atrium on Tuesday, Nov. 17, with students and staff eager to get some puppy love.

"Puppies are just so happy," says Alexis Tyler, a student at SFU’s Burnaby campus. "You can't help but smile around them."

Tyler was one of 250 people who attended SFU Health and Counselling Services' (HCS) Puppy Therapy event on Tuesday. 2015 marks the third year HCS has partnered with Pacific Assistance Dogs Society (PADS) and first year with Trained Pup to bring a bunch of adorable puppies to SFU’s campuses to help students, staff and faculty beat the blues and stresses associated with exam time. Tuesday’s event at Burnaby saw the biggest turnout yet with wait times up to one hour.

Martin Mroz, the director of HCS hopes the PADS puppies brighten the students' days during a time of high stress.

"It's just nice to offer something for the students,” says Mroz. “Puppies are cute, smell nice, and are relatively harmless. Who doesn't like puppies?”

Mroz adds puppy therapy is a great chance for students and faculty to share their love with others.

"It's not necessarily just the affection from a puppy that students are receiving, but the opportunity to nurture something else."

Puppy Therapy not only helps students de-stress, but it also helps the PADS puppies get used to being around people. The puppies at the event are in training to become service animals for persons with physical disabilities or hearing-impaired.

Al Boyd, a PADS volunteer, enjoys attending Puppy Therapy events at SFU.

"I've been a part of these de-stressing events and it's a lot of fun," says Boyd. "These events allow the dogs to socialize with lots of people, taking their training into practice.”

Through professional training, the PADS puppies will one day provide meaningful assistance to persons with disabilities by providing them with an increased level of independence and enhanced quality of life.

SFU students, faculty and stuff can look forward to five more upcoming Puppy Therapy sessions across the three University campuses. To find out more, visit https://www.sfu.ca/students/health/events/puppytherapy.html.