It’s a first in Ireland.
Trained service dogs from My Canine Companion will become part of life on campus at University College Cork as part of a new drive to combat stress and anxiety.
Led by UCC’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, a range of canine-assisted wellbeing events will be held for students and staff, with weekly activities designed to promote social connections, reduce feelings of stress, homesickness, and anxiety, and support students’ overall well-being.
Research has shown that interacting with dogs can decrease cortisol levels, a stress-related hormone, in university students. Various studies have found that people demonstrated an increase in levels of oxytocin, a hormone linked to bonding and positive emotional states, after time spent with dogs.
Paws for a cuddle
The MCC PAWS @ UCC programme aims to bring people together and provide opportunities for social connection, taking much-needed breaks between time studying in the library or attending lectures.
“We are delighted to partner with My Canine Companion to bring highly skilled therapy dogs to UCC,” said UCC President Professor John O’Halloran.
“The evidence is clear, from lowering stress levels to boosting social connections, there are many health benefits from time spent with companion dogs – whether one owns a dog or not.
“Whether a new or a returning student, adjusting to college life can be busy and stressful. We hope this initiative will bring great comfort, happiness, and support to our students and staff.”