Just Paws with the Therapy Dogs Continues to Attract Students

Posted on 11/11/21 11:47 AM

Monday, November 8, was another successful night for the Just Paws program. The series, held in Folger Student Center, continues to be incredibly successful among IUP students.

Sara Dillon, who manages the Just Paws program through the Health and Wellness Promotion Office, has interacted with several students who have had a fear of dogs or a bad interaction with dogs in the past. Dillon says, "These students are very open about asking questions about how to best interact with our canine friends. With some guidance, they come to love spending time with Ranger and our other therapy dogs."

Student and Ranger

Dillon sees more than her fair share of smiles among students who attend the weekly Monday evening program. Students take some downtime to decompress with the therapy dogs. Oftentimes, these students are missing their own pets back at home, so Ranger fills that very real need. Other students don't have dogs at home, but take advantage of the therapy dogs' talents in absorbing their stressors. 

Dillon says, "Students are all too ready to make friends with Ranger, and he, in turn, loves his new human friends at IUP. Oftentimes, students will ask to have their pictures taken with the therapy dogs to send home to their families."

IUP's Just Paws program does more than provide animals to comfort students at face value; they allow time for students to interact with the volunteers and HWP peer educators. These times to share ideas helps the office to realign their schedule of programs and also come up with new ideas that will best support students and their overall health at IUP.