A group of friendly, high-spirited dogs paid a visit to NUS students on 17 April, offering them a much-needed time-out from a busy week of studying and exam preparation. Organised by animal welfare group, NUS PEACE (People Ending Animal Cruelty and Exploitation), in collaboration with non-profit therapy group, Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS), some 40 students were given the opportunity to interact with six volunteer dogs and their owners.
NUS Arts and Social Sciences final-year student Tan Yi Jing said she joined the event because she likes dogs. “The dogs look so carefree,” she shared, “when you play with them, you feel relaxed.”
Year 2 NUS Computing student Rabi Shwetha, who herself owns a dog, agreed, calling the event a chance to “break from study mode”.
Pet therapy is documented to bring down anxiety and stress, shared Belinda Chong, one of the TDS volunteers who brought her six-year-old Border Collie. “This event will help take the students away from their studies and relieve their stress before their exams start,” she added.
Students gathered in groups to play games with and stroke the affectionate animals, as well as feed them and watch them perform tricks. They also had the chance to speak with the owners, learning some trivia about the well-loved pets and how they are cared for.
“I hope that the participants have gained a much deeper appreciation for dogs while they enjoyed their companionship,” said Vu Minh Phuong, a Year 3 NUS Design and Environment student and Vice Project Director of the event.
Begun in 2013, the event’s consistently enthusiastic response has allowed it to continue to its seventh session. It is usually held once a semester on Reading Week.