Pet owners are aware of the benefits of owning an animal, and the beautiful bonds of companionship that can exist between humans and animals. Moving away from home to a new place can be challenging. Leaving friends, family, and pets can be one of the hardest adjustments to overcome. We’ve all heard people say that pets are “just” animals, but they miss us just the same.  Leaving our furry friends at home is difficult.

This is a challenge that I’ve been struggling with as I’ve left home to go to university. I have a three-year-old Hungarian pointer or vizsla, Toby, who is a huge bundle of joy and a part-time menace that can only be described as a velcro dog. I miss his energetic personality which kept me busy, entertained, and smiling as I was rewarded with a happy dance every time, he saw me. At school, I miss the interactions I had with my dog and was curious if TRU had anything to offer for students that are “away from their furry friends”. I knew that Thompson Rivers University has a veterinary program on campus and thought that this may be my first lead. I reached out to the program in my first couple of weeks on campus to see if they had a “pet therapy” program. The Veterinary program informed me that they do pet adoptions at the end of the semester, however, they didn’t have anything like pet therapy. Soon after, I discovered that the TRU Wellness Center was offering pet therapy for students struggling.

The St. John Ambulance therapy dogs come to campus on regular visits to help students relieve their stress by sharing their affection and acting as a coping mechanism. The dogs attend campus every Thursday from 10 am-2 pm. This program runs from October to the end of the winter semester. As I attended this program, I felt a lot more cheerful as it reminded me of my dog at home. All the dogs put on their happy dances as people walked by and helped TRU students by making them laugh and putting smiles on their faces. This resource offered by the TRU Wellness Center helped me overcome the challenge of missing the companionship of my own dog. Not only did it put a smile on my face, but it was a great opportunity to decompress and take a break from my studies. The distance away from my furry friend has been tough, but at least it makes going home so much better. 

Future Student Ambassador, Karolina – Architectural & Engineering Technology, “My Experience: Being Away from Your Furry Friend”, 26 Jan. 2023.

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