Woodie, who was found abandoned and buried under a pile of rubble, and Rosie, who was found dumped in a flower pot, were among several dogs who were the centre of attention at University College Cork (UCC) as students took time out from their studies to attend a ‘puppy and dog party’.
The students were encouraged to pet and hold the dogs, and even take some for a walk around campus, as part of an event designed to promote positive mental health among students.
Friends Maeve O’Keeffe and Alana Dooley, from Wexford, who are both studying for their BA exams in a few weeks, were among dozens who oohed and aahed at the sight of the mutts.
They both miss their own pet dogs at home in Wexford, and said it was great to spend time with the puppies. “You just don’t get this everyday at campus on your way to class — especially when you’re away from home and you don’t have your pets here,” Maeve said.
Alana said: “It’s just so nice to be able to sit down with them and not have to think about college work for a while.”
The event is the brainchild of final-year science student Mychela Hunt, a member of the UCC Korean Society who also works part-time in a veterinary surgery. “We have a lot of international students coming in to us and they always seem to be stressed, and I work in a vets too, so I had an idea to start a puppy party, and it kind of grew from there,” she said.
She teamed up with the Munster Lost and Found Pet Helpline for the first event last year, which was deemed such a success that they staged it again yesterday.
Cian Power, welfare officer with UCC students’ union, said the university has a strong health promotion ethos. “We would always advise, especially coming up to exams or assignment deadlines, or even managing workloads, that it is good to break from studying. Taking a break from study really benefits your mental health,” he said.
UCC was formally recognised as a ‘Health Promoting University’ by the HSE South last month for its UCC Health Matters initiative, which included a plan to reduce alcohol-related harm among students, the introduction of alcohol-free campus accommodation, and the launch of UCC’s own annual Operation Transformation.
Several of the dogs involved in yesterday’s stress buster need foster homes. See munsterlostandfound.com for details.
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