PAWSing Student Stress: A Pilot Evaluation Study of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program on Three University Campuses in Canada

  • Colleen Anne Dell University of Saskatchewan
  • Darlene Chalmers
  • James Gillett
  • Betty Rohr
  • Chelsea Nickel
  • Lori Campbell
  • Rita Hanoski
  • Josh Haguerud
  • Alicia Husband
  • Coby Stephenson
  • Madison Brydges
Keywords: applied practice

Abstract

Student mental health is a concern on university campuses, and animal-assisted interventions are one response. This article presents the immediate and three-month follow-up outcomes of a pilot evaluation study of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program at three Canadian universities. Analyzing a sample of 403 students and 16 handlers/observers at the events and 87 students at follow-up, we found that the therapy dogs offer love and support. Love is understood as having reciprocal love for the dogs and gaining positive feelings from visiting with them. Support is understood as destressing and relaxing by interacting with the dogs. Implications for mental health supports for university students are suggested.

Author Biographies

Colleen Anne Dell, University of Saskatchewan
Professor & Research Chair in Substance Abuse
Darlene Chalmers
Assistant Professor
James Gillett
Associate Professor
Betty Rohr
Researcher
Chelsea Nickel
Student
Lori Campbell

Associate Dean

Rita Hanoski
Nurse
Josh Haguerud
St. John Ambulance Pet Therapy Program Manager
Alicia Husband
Research assistant
Coby Stephenson
Student administration
Madison Brydges
Student
Published
2015-10-02
How to Cite
Dell, C. A., Chalmers, D., Gillett, J., Rohr, B., Nickel, C., Campbell, L., Hanoski, R., Haguerud, J., Husband, A., Stephenson, C., & Brydges, M. (2015). PAWSing Student Stress: A Pilot Evaluation Study of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program on Three University Campuses in Canada. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 49(4). Retrieved from https://cjc-rcc.ucalgary.ca/article/view/61079
Section
Articles/ Articles