Paw Program

words students used to describe how the pilot made them feel

Paw Program

Join our weekly one-hour structured dog program where students can sit with, pet, and interact with dogs without leaving campus.

Some Paw Pups...






Fall 2020 Pilot Results

218 unique student participants over the course of the 7 week pilot

47% of participants reported visiting more than once and 15% of participants reported visiting 4 or more times

98% of students agreed that the program had a positive impact on their mental health

One participant reported, “I love it, just wish there were more times available within my schedule to go.”


All persons (participants, dog owners, and student coordinators) will be required to follow St. Olaf Community Standards, including wearing a face covering at all times while outside engaging in the program and sanitizing hands before touching animals and afterwards. This also includes maintaining 6 feet of distance between one another at all times.  According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that dogs transmit the disease to humans and spread COVID-19. 


Fiocco & Hunse (2017) found that therapy dog exposure may buffer the stress response in university students, which has implications for the promotion of a viable stress management program on university campuses. Somervill et al (2008)  found a significant decrease in diastolic pressure occurred immediately following holding an animal. Adamle et al. (2010) found that students identified that visits with certified pet therapy dogs could be beneficial to college freshmen during their first year away from home.