ENCINITAS — “Feelin’ Fur” helped students survive their final exams at the Mira Costa College – San Elijo campus in Encinitas and California State University – San Marcos Dec. 5.Trained Love on a Leash therapy dogs from Rancho Coastal Humane Society’s Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT) program stopped by Mira Costa and CSUSM to give students some “fur therapy.” Dogs and handlers who participate in the Pet Assisted Therapy program at Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas will be among those taking part in the “Pause for Paws” events.
RCHS spokesman John Van Zante said, “Animals have a calming effect on us. When we pet a dog, our blood pressure drops. It promotes learning in younger people and improves memory for older people.”
Van Zante, who is also a college instructor, has seen it first-hand. “These students are so deep into their thoughts that they can hardly find their classrooms. They don’t talk. They bump into things. But when they pet a dog it gives them a mental break before their next test. That may be the difference between passing or failing.”
Volunteer Manager Mary Pilon said, “RCHS is an official chapter of the Love on a Leash Foundation for Pet-Provided Therapy. All pets must pass an initial evaluation provided by Love on a Leash. Dogs must also successfully complete a six-week training course that will provide them and their handlers with the skills they need to take part in PAT.”
For more information about the Pet Assisted Therapy program visit RCHS at 389 Requeza St. in Encinitas, call (760) 753-6413, or log on to sdpets.org.