Pet Therapy meets Snowy the therapy dog

Watercooler was lucky to have met Snowy, the therapy dog last week. Snowy is the star of Campus Wellbeing! He’s 7 years old (49 in dog years) and is a Bichon Frise cross Maltese, making Snowy hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed.  

Snowy the therapy dog flyerSnowy works part time, has his own work station at reception and is on hand for students and staff to assist with pats, cuddles and kisses. While Snowy’s work may seem touchy feely, don’t doubt the value of his role. Snowy knows a lot about effective study techniques, organisation, time management, exam preparation and handling stress.

Snowy came to work at Macquarie University two months ago, after his mum, Taleen Biberian and her manager, Kim Carmody saw the value of therapy pets and their benefits for stressed students and staff.  An article from  Harvard Medical School supports the many benefits of the animal – human bond and the surprising benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and increased serotonin and dopamine levels.  Now this is all good in theory but you can see the change in people interacting with animals, they seem to let go of any walls they may have up and joy comes to their face.

Snowy and TaleenAn airy-fairy explanation?  OK, drawing on an authentic, personal experience, my Claytons Mother-in-law suffers from panic attacks. During the last episode nothing could calm her, so I told her Samuel wanted her to pat him (he was lying next to her, looking visibly concerned by her state).  While she started patting him, I kept reminding her to take slow, deep breaths.  Eventually my M-I-L did calm down, her breathing returned to normal and the rocking stopped.  Samuel was on her lap by this stage, he was able to calm her down and also stop her from being mentally hooked on what had panicked her. (See, I always have to slip in some reference to Samuel!)

taleenandsnowykissSo here’s cheers to a great initiative from Campus Wellbeing, an emotionally intelligent manager, Kim Carmody and of course, Snowy’s mum Taleen Biberian for the idea!  The good news is that Snowy is up for pats from staff and students alike, so drop in and say hi and have a cuddle with him on Level 2, Lincoln Building (C8A).  He works Monday, Wednesday and Fridays (dependant on Grandma’s diary).