As the semester comes to an end and finals are looming, Millersville University’s Counseling Center is providing pet therapy for stressed-out students. Pet therapy is the practice of interacting with a certified animal. Therapy certified animals differ from everyday pets. These animals have undergone specialized training to comfort humans in stressful situations. Some therapy animals even know tricks to show students!
Volunteers bring their therapy animals to Millersville every Thursday from 11 a.m. until noon, and 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. in the parlor (first floor) of Lyle Hall. The service is free and open to anyone on campus. “This type of therapy helps students relax and offers a comforting animal presence that students might be missing from being apart from their furry friends back home” said Counseling Center Secretary Andrea Baker.
The Counseling Center works with Keystone Pets Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS), a network of volunteers who bring their therapy animals to places like schools, hospitals and universities. While most people assume that all therapy animals are dogs, there are a wide variety of species that are involved in KPETS. Cats, mini horses and even a pig named Crosby are a part of the team!
This is not the only time animals have been brought to campus to promote mental health. Earlier this year The Center for Peer Education (CHEP) sponsored an event called “I Goat your back.” Goats on leashes were brought to campus for students to interact with. While petting and playing with the goats, the peer educators talked to the students about resources on campus for mental health issues.
If you have any questions about pet therapy, please contact Andrea Baker at Andrea.Baker@millersville.edu.