April is a particularly hectic and stressful time for postsecondary students. Anxiety builds on fatigue as students focus on completing their assignments and studying for final exams.
To help York students cope with their stress, Kevin Wilson, senior executive officer in the Office of the Vice-President Students, contacted the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program to arrange for a therapy dog to visit the Keele campus.
That’s where Enzo (left) comes in. A large, handsome Standard Poodle, Enzo has a steady gaze and a gentle demeanor. With a nuzzle of his wet nose and a wag of his tail, Enzo soothes frazzled nerves and pre-exam anxieties. Enzo spent much of last week touring the campus residences and common rooms working with stressed-out studiers.
This week, the calming canine will be in 1152 Vari Hall from 12 to 2pm, April 17 to 19. “We hope that students will take the time to drop by and ease their exam stress with a visit with Enzo,” said Barb Bauer, administrative assistant in the office of the VP Students. “He is a lovely, gentle dog and he is very soft and cuddly.”
Virginia Mantycki is Enzo’s human companion. She says that Enzo’s presence on campus has been well received by students. “We went to the Pond Road Residence and Enzo made lots of friends. He was blissed out with all the hugs and love from everyone he met,” she said.
“At times he just closed his eyes as he sat surrounded by students. He never tired of anyone cuddling him. The students enjoyed that he was so responsive to them,” said Mantycki.
“After playing on the floor with Enzo for a while, one young lady then texted her mom to tell her she was playing with a therapy dog that York brought in to help students [cope] with stress during exam time,” said Mantycki. “Her mom texted back asking if he can also help with answers to the exams. Lots of students took photographs of Enzo. I wonder if he felt like a movie star.”
As part of his tour of the Keele campus, Enzo spent some time with students living in residence
Enzo and Mantycki are volunteers with the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program. For almost 20 years, therapy dogs have visited people in hospitals, special needs programs and long-term care facilities.