Counseling Center provides pet therapy for students
semester draws to a close at Shippensburg University, projects are due, finals
are coming up and suddenly it seems there aren’t enough hours in the day. Students
at Shippensburg University can take heart because Puppy Power is on its way.
Counseling Center is hosting pet therapy with dogs and handlers from Kindly
Canines of Chambersburg Dec. 8 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Tuscarora Room in
Reisner Dining Hall.
Kindly Canines is a volunteer group of handlers and their dogs that
have been tested and registered as Therapy Dog Teams. Animals from the Cumberland County Red Cross Animal Assisted Therapy Program have participated in previous years.
to Dr. Michelle Olexa, psychologist and assistant professor, the center has
arranged for therapy dogs to visit campus for several years and it is a very
popular program. Olexa said that therapy dogs have been on campus for every
wellness fair and as part of the center’s Simply Well Being series, such as the
event Dec. 8.
Olexa said previous programs involved taking animals, including a guinea pig and cat, into the residence halls.
there is a very positive impact therapy animals can have on students,
particularly in high- tension situations.
“I’ve had a long time interest in animal therapy and the general
psychological power of being around animals, especially for college-aged
therapy is proven to be effective with severely ill people and those in
hospital settings, but Olexa believes that therapy dogs can have an equally
positive effect on college students at high stress times.
be missing their pets at home. The therapy dogs put things into perspective for
the students as well as lowering their blood pressure and lowering anxiety,”
she said. “I also believe that it can
help college students deal with social anxiety.”
to bring therapy dogs to campus at other times as well. “I’d like to see the dogs come in for orientation
activities. People are more interested in talking with each other when there
are animals around.”
Canines will also have information available during the event.