Caring Canines to visit OC to boost student mental health

By College Relations | January 15, 2024

Pictured from left: caring canines Wilson and Bella.
Pictured from left: caring canines Wilson and Bella

Meet Bella and Wilson, a pair of fun-loving dogs that will soon be the center of everyone’s attention at Okanagan College.  

Bella and Wilson are therapy dogs, and a regular part of the mental health supports that OC students receive. This week they will be at OC as part of the College’s efforts to support students with several initiatives taking place including the annual Bell Let’s Talk fundraising campaign, Jan. 24 

“The therapy dogs are really amazing and provide our students with so much stress relief that it is really impactful to have them at OC. Our goal is to support students and providing a variety of different ways for students to deal with stress and mental health issues is one way we do that” said James Coble, OC’s Dean of Students. 

Bella’s owner and OC staff member Heather Thomson expressed her excitement at having Bella visit the College to interact with students.  

"Getting to spend time with Bella brings the students so much joy, they are all experiencing different stresses of life and it is great to give them a chance to relax and unwind by stopping to pet her and the other therapy dogs. I always love seeing the change that the dogs create in people's days everywhere we go," said Thomson.  

The therapy dogs are just one of many ways OC provides mental health supports to students including counseling services, which are free and confidential for all OC students. Counsellors provide short-term counselling related to personal, mental health, career and academic challenges. For students facing additional challenges, OC counselling team members can help to connect students with additional mental health services in the community. Students also have access to closed support groups run by OC counsellors.  

OC staff and students at the Kelowna campus are encouraged to attend the Bell Let's talk day event on Wednesday, Jan 24, 2024, from 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in the Student Services Lower Lounge. Students can enjoy warm beverages, visit the therapy dogs and chat with OC counsellors and the peer support group students.  

Tags: Mental Health, Recreation and Student Life, Services for Students



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