There were tricks and dog treats this past Tuesday, Oct. 31 on the fifth floor of the Rec-IM Building as students gathered, some in costume, for a therapeutic Halloween experience during the latest installment of Eastern Michigan University’s Wellness Center’s Wellness Woof program.
Ten times during the school year, Therapaws of Michigan sends out licensed therapy dogs to help students pet some stress away and to promote well-being with a little puppy love.
Besides making visits to colleges, these pups pop in at hospitals to bring warmth to patients, and some of the dogs even help children learn how to read thanks to a program called “Therapaws to READ,” a literacy program where children read books to dogs as a way to instill confidence in a child’s learning abilities.
Pam Hoose, one of the puppy parents from Therapaws, is active in both the “Therapaws to READ” program as well as the customized visits to hospitals and campuses. She said she enjoys bringing her work to EMU.
Pam, a retired second grade teacher, and her husband Richard brought their goldendoodles Josephine and Ruby all decked out in superhero garb to add some holiday flair and cuteness on Halloween, or shall I say Howl-oween.
Pam said, “The dogs are always excited to be around people. They go right up to the new people.”
The dogs weren’t the only ones excited. Alex Neeley, an entertainment and design tech senior said, “I wanted to see dogs in cute costumes - the only thing better than a dog is a dog in a costume.”
Susan Moody, a grad assistant who works in the EMU Office of Conduct, Community Standards and Wellness feels that programs like Wellness Woof builds community and support on campus. “It’s a great program and we’d like to see more students take advantage of it,” she said.
Moody believes that wellness and conduct often go hand in hand. Moody’s assistant, Ryan Failing, an EMU grad student, feels that programs such as Wellness Woof can help promote growth and development.
Failing said, “Self-care and de-stressing can come from many different ways like petting a dog.”
“Wellness can take as little as five minutes,” he added.
Be sure to fetch some smiles Nov. 13 when the therapy dogs from Therapaws return to campus to provide EMU students stress relief and a fun, paws-itive experience.