According to the National College Health Assessment Spring 2015, stress and anxiety are top two academic impediments for KU students. Research shows that therapy dogs have a positive impact on college students dealing with stress, anxiety, homesickness, relationship difficulties and more.
The Health Education Resource Office at Watkins Health Services (WHS) has partnered with the Loving Paws Animal Assisted Therapy Program since 2013 to provide opportunities for KU students to interact with certified therapy dogs as a form of stress relief. Current programs include:
- Stress Busting Study Breaks offered at Anschutz and Watson Libraries prior to and during finals week, and
- Pause 4 Pups offered twice monthly during the semester rotating among residence hall from 8-9 pm on Wednesday nights.
Both programs have been a hugely popular with students. In academic year 2015, we recorded a total of 6,200 student encounters. Since these programs began, therapy dogs have made a huge impact on thousands of KU students.
With additional funding, WHS could expand opportunities for therapy dogs to engage an even greater number of students. A new LaunchKU fundraising initiative commenced in spring 2016 to achieve this goal. This specific campaign has ended but tax-deductible contributions to Watkins are always appreciated.