PAWSS dog on a mission

March 28, 2019 | Campus Life, Health, Society
Lucy and I were walking across the second floor of the Robbins Health Learning Centre one day, headed outside to give her a pee break, when she started pulling on her leash to go another direction. I tried to keep going but she was adamant, so I followed her around a corner and behind a bank of lockers where a student was sitting on the floor sobbing.

When I crouched down to ask if she was okay, the student started to pat Lucy and told me that no, she wasn’t okay. Lucy and I spent some time with her, and then I suggested that it might be a good idea for her to talk to someone in Wellness and Psychological Services. She agreed, so I handed her the leash and the three of us made our way to Building 7 together. When we arrived, I gave her a big hug, told her to take good care of herself and left her in their very capable hands.

It wasn’t until I got back to my office that I realized how powerful that experience was. In a really busy hallway filled with people it can be hard to see the person who’s struggling. But they’re there and they’re not alone. Our students have jobs, they have kids, they have lives. And school can be tough – I know it was for me. When I was in nursing school, I’d get on the bus at the end of the day and cry when the driver asked me, “How’d it go today, kid?” When we arrived at my stop he’d say, “Tomorrow will be a better day.” And eventually it was.

– Cynthia Gundermann, Interim Simulation Program Coordinator, Clinical Simulation Centre, Faculty of Nursing

Cynthia’s dog, Lucy, comes to MacEwan every Tuesday and Thursday as part of the Pets Assisting With Student Success (PAWSS) program.

Get MacEwan University news delivered to your inbox.
Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter