image of dog being pet by many hands

Pre-exam “puppy therapy” de-stresses Dentistry students

Dentistry students took relaxation to novel new levels at the second annual “puppy therapy event.” Organized by the Dental Students’ Society’s (DSS) wellness team and wellness officer Diana Liu on November 18th, the evimage of girls with dogent brought together students, faculty and staff with a number of shaggy, four-legged friends.

“The idea started from a news article I read in the American Dental Association,” explains Liu of her committee’s latest initiative. “In the article, a paediatric dentist was using his therapy dog in the dental clinic to help kids with dental anxiety,” adds the fourth year student.

The event’s visiting dogs, which ranged from the small to the large, were owned by staff, faculty and students, and had only to fit certain criteria: they had to be well-behaved, non-shedding and hypo-allergenic.

The DSS wellness initiative was spearheaded by the DSS council last year, when the council began “Wellness Wednesdays.” Liu, who has a passion for nutrition and yoga, was a natural fit for the position of wellness officer. A certified yoga instructor, she now leads her fellow students and staff in lunchtime yoga classes, as well as colouring therapy sessions. Last year, Liu also organized free massages to students through a lottery system.

The puppy therapy event was specifically targeted to combat the notorious anxiety surrounding the pre-holiday exam period, says Liu.

“I thought getting dogs at the school close to exam time would create more smiles, reduce stress and anxiety from exams, and get students and staff who don’t normally come out to social activities a great incentive to come out,” she relates.  

Several canine friends were present for the petting session. And, claims Liu, who wanted to thank all the participants and organizers, “The even was a huge success and had a higher turnout than last year.”

The dogs were all smiles, too.


Images: courtesy Kevin Nguyen, DSS