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04th Sep 2023

UCC have welcomed therapy dogs to their campus

Katy Thornton

What a great time to be a UCC student.

Some adorable news that’s bound to bring some joy to UCC students and faculty is that the campus has welcomed three therapy dogs in a new PAWS programme.

According to the UCC website, this is the first programme of its kind in Ireland, which has an aim “to enhance student well-being and increase supports for students adjusting to university life.”

Research has proven that the presence of therapy dogs has proved beneficial for those struggling with mental health by decreasing cortisol levels and reducing the feeling of loneliness that might be prevalent in newer students.

The pups come from Irish charity My Canine Companion (MCC), which was set up in 2011 by husband and wife Cliona O’Rourke and Niall Ruddy. In its 12 year-run, MCC has become the largest provider of service dogs to children and young adults with autism in Ireland, according to their website.

The Paws Programme at UCC is a three-year pilot that will consist of several dog-based activities taking place across the semesters, with the hopes of bringing people together and enhance social connections among students. Students will also be able to get involved through volunteer work.

UCC President Professor John O’Halloran said this of the new initiative:

“We are delighted to partner with My Canine Companion to bring highly skilled therapy dogs to UCC. 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 brings great comfort, happiness and support to our students and staff.”

You can read more about the MCC Paws Programme on their website.

Header image via Instagram / @maxbellphoto/UCC⁣ & / University College Cork


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