Dozens of third-year commerce students at the University of Victoria flooded into the basement of the Business and Economics building on Monday to play with puppies.
The meeting was a joint effort between business students and BC and Alberta Guide Dogs to help socialize the puppies and help students unwind.
“We just had what’s colloquially known as ‘Hell Week’,” said Matt Sutherland, a third-year business student at UVic who helped organize the event. “That’s four midterms in four days and all of them are worth a lot, so that’s why we decided to do it because everyone was really stressed out.”
Four dogs were on scene with their volunteer trainers, ranging in age from three months to 15 months old. All of them were available to pet, play and cuddle.
“It’s also a really good training opportunity for our dogs to get some polite greetings practice, as well as to give back to our community and spread awareness of our programs,” said Samantha Jagt, puppy training supervisor with BC and Alberta Guide Dogs.
Ally Kubfler is also a third-year student and was delighted to find a puppy named Archie – a name shared by her late family dog.
“Dog therapy is honestly so helpful for students because a lot of us are living away from home and don’t have our parents’ dogs anymore,” Kubfler said.
Carla Williams is a long-time volunteer puppy trainer who is looking after Archie until he graduates – Archie is her fifth puppy with BC and Alberta Guide Dogs.
“It’s a really good opportunity for the puppies to interact in public and stay polite in their jackets, and an opportunity to then return to their normal lives,” Williams said.
Volunteers keep puppies with them for the first 13 to 15 months of their lives in order to train them for one of the three programs offered by the BC and Alberta Guide Dogs: guide dogs, autism support dogs and PTSD service dogs.
More volunteers are needed for the puppy raising program. Anyone interested can visit bcandalbertaguidedogs.com.