Miri – 31 May 2018 – Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) is creating a first for tertiary institutions in Malaysia by introducing animal-assisted therapy to help its students relax while studying for their upcoming semester final examinations next month.
According to Mac’Earldon Mike Maxwell, Curtin Malaysia’s Head of Library and Learning Commons, which is organising the project, academic libraries in recent years have expanded their traditional focus on intellectual and scholarly pursuits, with many libraries now initiating programmes that support student growth, development, and wellness.
He said exam time can be very intense for students in terms of stress and anxiety, and his department thought it would be a good idea to support the physical and emotional well-being of students during this stress-filled time by providing therapy animals to help them relax.
“Although providing animal-assisted activities to university students is a fairly new concept, the social and therapeutic benefits of pet ownership or simply interacting with animals are well documented,” said Mac’Earldon.
He added that studies have shown that interaction with animals in many different situations can help reduce stress and improve outcomes.
Mac’Earldon said pet owners within the campus community and members of the public are invited to volunteer their pets for an ‘Animal Petting Corner’ and ‘Pet Tour’ on 6 June 2018 where students can interact with the animals.
He said the ‘Animal Petting Corner’ will be in part of the campus gardens and students will be invited to pet, hug, feed, brush, draw, photograph, sit near, and play with the animals. For the ‘Pet Tour’, library staff and pet owners will bring animals on a tour of The Library, 24-hour Study Area and Student Learning Commons to meet and interact with students.
Those willing to volunteer their pets can register with The Library at Curtin Malaysia before 4 June 2018, and bring their pets at 10 am on 6 June 2018. Up to five pet owners with any number of pets are required and will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis. Each pet owner will be compensated RM50 per hour.
Smaller animals are preferred for the ‘Petting Corner’ while larger animals such as dogs and cats on leashes and accompanied by owners are ideal for the ‘Pet Tour’. All pets should preferably have had up-to-date health checks, be vaccinated, be well-groomed, and especially for larger animals, have a calm and playful demeanour in the presence of strangers. Dogs aged more than six months must be on a leash at all times.
For more details, contact Ms. Marina Samsudin at 085-630042 or email [email protected].
科廷大学马来西亚分校 Curtin University Malaysia