Originally published in Shelter Me.

With the help of some calming canines, stressed-out students at Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia get some much needed relief while prepping for exams.

According to NBC29, medical students at UVA were visited by an octet of canines, all part of the school’s Compassionate Care Initiative.   The school wants to  “insert compassion into every patient interaction,” and believes that starts by keeping their students healthy in mind, body and spirit.

Courtesy, Virginia Tech Helping PAWS
Courtesy, Virginia Tech Helping PAWS


“Therapy dogs and service dogs are just such an underestimated part of health care,” added a UVA student.

Virginia Tech also believes in the benefits of pet therapy. Virgina Tech Helping PAWS (Pet Assistance Wellness Program) runs throughout the year, with pet therapy study breaks held at Squires Student Center.

This program extends beyond the borders of the school, providing animal-assisted therapy to local community facilities.  Students, faculty, staff, alumni and their pets visit counseling centers, libraries, schools, nursing homes and assisted living centers in the area.  For more information or to get involved, contact vthelpingpaws@vt.edu.

Courtesy, Virginia Tech
Courtesy, Virginia Tech

Incorporating stress-relieving therapy dogs and cats, into any student body is time-tested and research approved by many higher education facilities, such as Yale and Harvard. Organizers at UVA call their program the Annual Five C’s: cookies, canines, cocoa, cider and contributions. Donations go to their local SPCA.  We give them a big four-paws!



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