NUS PEACE Therapy Dogs Programme student committee members posing with the 6 volunteer dogs and their owners / photo: NUS Facebook

NUS students’ time out with furry friends

Earlier this week on Monday, a group of friendly, high-spirited dogs paid a visit to NUS students, offering them a much-needed time-out from a busy week of studying and exam preparation, the National University of Singapore informed on NUSNEWS.

Organised by animal welfare group, NUS PEACE (People Ending Animal Cruelty and Exploitation), in collaboration with non-profit therapy group, Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS), some 40 students were given the opportunity to interact with six volunteer dogs and their owners.

Students enjoying their time with Angel, a 10-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel / photo: NUS Facebook

Therapy Dogs Programme, a non-profit organisation, is a collaboration effort established under NUS PEACE.  Held once every semester in the school campus, the programme aims to reduce the stress of students through active interaction with well-trained dogs.

Vice Project Director of NUS PEACE Therapy Dog Programme VII, Vu Minh Phuong said, “I hope that the participants have gained a much deeper appreciation for dogs while they enjoyed their companionship.”

Vu Minh Phuong, a Year 3 NUS School of Design & Environment student and Vice Project Director of the Programme, briefing the student participants on how to properly handle the dogs / photo: NUS Facebook

NUS Arts and Social Sciences final-year student Tan Yi Jing said she joined the event because she likes dogs. “The dogs look so carefree,” she said, “when you play with them, you feel relaxed.”

And year 2 NUS Computing student Rabi Shwetha, who herself owns a dog, agreed, calling the event a chance to ‘break from study mode’.

One of the favourites during the event was Teddy, a 5-year-old Alaskan Malamute / photo: NUS Facebook

“Pet therapy is documented to bring down anxiety and stress,” shared Belinda Chong, one of the TDS volunteers who brought her six-year-old Border Collie. “This event will help take the students away from their studies and relieve their stress before their exams start,” she added.

Students gathered in groups to play games with and stroke the affectionate animals, as well as feed them and watch them perform tricks. They also had the chance to speak with the owners, learning some trivia about the well-loved pets and how they are cared for.

Stitch, the Border Collie, is always game to play fetch / photo: NUS Facebook

The programme begun in 2013, and has garnered consistently enthusiastic response, allowing it to continue to its seventh session. It is usually held once a semester on Reading Week.