UP Library Services helps students PAWS for a study break during examination season

Posted on June 04, 2019

The University of Pretoria’s Department of Library Services, in collaboration with the largest dog therapy organisation in Gauteng, TOP Dogs, will be bringing therapy dogs onto UP’s Hatfield Campus on the mornings of 5, 6 and 7 June 2019, to provide animal-assisted therapy to students starting examinations this week.

Research indicates that human-animal interaction has a relaxation and stress-reduction effect even after as little as five minutes of interaction with a therapy dog. Although animal-assisted therapy is mainly used in healthcare and elderly care settings, more and more modern international academic and public libraries use therapy dogs as a way of encouraging student interaction. Some of the benefits include:

  • Decreased loneliness
  • Increased social interaction and behaviour
  • Promotion of emotional well-being
  • Mood elevation
  • Stress relief

The primary objective of TOP Dogs is to provide comfort and companionship by sharing their dogs with those in hospitals, care facilities, other institutions such as schools and now, for the first time ever, at the University of Pretoria. Therapy dogs are carefully selected and fully trained, and their role is to provide emotional support to people. They are calm, friendly and well-mannered, and registered with a therapy dog group such as Top Dogs.

With this initiative the Department of Library Services supports the Fly@UP strategy, working to boost the emotional well-being of our students during the examination period.

You are welcome to visit the therapy dogs of TOP Dogs on the lawn in front of the old Merensky 2 Library of the Hatfield Campus at the times below, to meet the following dog breeds. If you’re able to, a donation in the form of dog food or cash toward TOP Dogs would be most welcome!

  • On 5 June 11:30 - 12:30, eleven dogs will be available, including breeds such as Labrador, Great Dane, Retriever, Border Collie, Beagle, Boxer, Africanis.
  • On 6 June 2019 11:30 - 12:30, nine dogs including breeds such as Weimaraner, Labrador, Border Collie, Retriever, Jack Russel terrier.
  • On Friday 7 June 2019 at 11:30 - 12:30, eights dogs including breeds such as Labrador, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Border Collie, Weimaraner.

The Department of Library Services is a world-class learning and research environment boasting wide-ranging print and electronic collections, a Library MakerSpace with 3D printers and scanners, and recently acquired its first service robot, Libby. But we are so much more than resources and spaces: our professional staff members also take the well-being of each and every client seriously – hence this initiative.

The Department of Library Services hopes that our students will perceive these therapy dog sessions as a pawsitive experience!

- Author Elsabé Olivier

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