STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma university announced that it is opening the nation’s largest university-based pet therapy center to help with the emotional well-being of students, staff, faculty, and guests.
Oklahoma State University announced that it will open the OSU Center for Pet Therapy as an extension of Pete’s Pet Posse, which was established eight years ago.
Since that time, the nearly 60 Pete’s Pet Posse dog/ owner/handler teams have touched more than 263,000 lives.
“These dogs and their owner/handlers have a proven track record of reaching places of the heart we humans can’t do alone,” said OSU First Lady Ann Hargis and co-founder of Pete’s Pet Posse. “The incredible generosity of donors who believe in our program is making this new center a reality and keeping a very popular pet therapy program thriving at OSU. The OSU Center for Pet Therapy is positioned to take the work of these teams to a whole new level and my dog Scuff and I are thrilled to keep serving the OSU community in this way.”
Pet therapy is proven in its ability to stimulate an automatic relaxation response in people, improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and increase the release of endorphins for a calming effect.
“The dogs of Pete’s Pet Posse amaze me every time I see them at work,” noted Trevor Richardson, Director of Sport Psychology, OSU Athletics. “The unconditional love and non-judgmental temperament of the animals can reach and heal emotional places no human therapist can master. We are thrilled this program is continuing to serve the OSU community.”
The OSU Center for Pet Therapy will be based out of the OSU Student Union but actual pet therapy activity will continue to go where needed across campus.