December 21, 2017

Students get hands-on exposure to comforting dogs during Wellness Woof programs

Program offers students the opportunity to relax and connect with licensed therapy dogs

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University students and members of the campus community can interact and relax with therapy dogs from Therapaws through the Wellness Woof program, offered through EMU’s Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility.

This event is free, open to the public and held monthly from 4-6 p.m. in the Rec/IM Building. The upcoming dates for this event are in association with the EMU Winter Wellness Fair, to held Wednesday, Jan. 10; and then February 13, March 5, March 20 and April 9.

The first Wellness Woof event of the 2018 winter semester is Jan. 10.

The Jan. 10 event will be held on the fourth floor walking track in the Rec/IM. The Wellness Fair will feature the therapy dogs, plus student organizations and campus and community resource tables.

Students often deal with stress, depression, sadness, anxiety and a host of other emotions during the school year. Wellness Woof aims to combat that by providing an event to help relieve such feelings.

Students are allowed to choose the way in which they interact with the dogs. Students typically surround one of the multiple therapy dogs at the event. Some will engage fully and pet the dog while other students simply sit and observe.

Students will typically spend a few minutes with each dog and rotate as they please. They are allowed to leave and re-enter the event as well.

One recent participant stated, “I think it’s a great resource for stressed out college kids.”

In a recent year’s survey, 95 percent of the participants in this program stated that they left the event happier than when they arrived.

“I was feeling extremely overwhelmed and stressed by classes, and this event helped more than I can express,” said a freshman in the EMU Honors College. “This event really lifted a weight off my shoulders. After seeing the dogs, I was happy, replenished and recharged.”

During the 2016-2017 school year, an average of 149 people attended each monthly session, with an overall attendance of about 1,200 students. Halfway through this academic year, the event has drawn 893 participants, on pace to exceed last’s year’s total. 

For more information on this program, please contact the Office of Wellness and Community Responsibility (734) 487-2157.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 200 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

Contact Geoff Larcom, glarcom@emich.edu, 734.487.4401

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