University life can be stressful for some – a new town, living on your own and leaving friends can be difficult.
UBC Okangan’s B.A.R.K. (Building Academic Retention through K’9’s) program to the rescue.
As the dogs wait for their next tummy rub, they accomplish some very important things.
They help support the well being of primarily first-year students, who can be at a higher risk for issues that surround homesickness and social isolation.
Running the program is associate professor John-Tyler Binfet, who organizes two types of programming. One is an intervention based program, where students are paired up with therapy dogs to help look at the effects of animal-assisted therapy.
Dogs are brought to the campus, and the university community visits with them during the 2nd program organized by Binfet. He says students connect with one another because of the dogs.
There isn’t a lot of turn-around in the program, Dr. Binfet does though occasionally look for new volunteers, whether it’s a therapy dog or student volunteer. Visit bark.sites.olt.ubc.ca/ for updates.