Pet Therapy session with PALS Calgary provides stress relief for StMU Students
Student petting a dog
With the semester winding down and exam anxiety ramping, the Pet Access League (PALS) of Calgary provided St. Mary’s students with the perfect mental break through pet therapy.

On Thursday, December 7 some furry friends made their way to McGivney Hall on the St. Mary’s campus to provide students a much needed break and some stress relief during this hectic time of the year. Pet therapy has shown the ability to improve mental health, physical, social and emotional functioning through the accepting, non-threatening and non-judgmental bond between people and animals.

“When you’re at school and you don’t have the opportunity to go home to our own pets, this is a nice break that, in the middle of studying, we have a place that we can go and stop everything that’s going on with school and pet puppies,” said biology student Isabelle White.

For Andrea Cortes, the furry visitors from PALS provide a much need distraction at the perfect time.

“The dogs help get your mind off of things so that you have something else to focus on for a while,” said Cortes. “It calms you down, especially during the last week of school.”

For Kim Massie, volunteering with PALS with her dog Glitch holds a special place in her heart. After her grandson suffered a horrific BMX accident, it was the pet nights at the Children’s Hospital that proved to be the highlights of his seven-week stay.

It was through these sessions that Massie became acquainted with PALS and is something that Massie is extremely thankful to be a part of.

“To do this kind of work is extremely rewarding and I love doing it,” said Massie. “I’m so thankful that I have a dog that I can do it with, not all dogs have the same personality. This is the best job you could ask for.”

Massie finds it extremely rewarding to be able to play a role in helping people heal through pet therapy.

“It makes me feel great to be able to help. Being able to heal anything emotional through pet therapy is amazing. Sometimes being able to spend time with the dogs gives peace of mind.”