Once a week, UVic’s Interfaith Chapel invites students in for a different kind of connection – a therapeutic hangout with sweet furry friends.
While it is usually dogs that make an appearance at the free weekly Pet Cafe, Wednesday’s event had the annual addition of baby goats.
“Volunteering and just being able to chat with students and see them walk through the doors and just be so happy, the stress just sort of melts away,” said Pet Cafe volunteer Ali Ferguson.
The dogs visiting the chapel are certified therapy dogs from Pacific Animal Therapy Society (PATS) and St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program.
“They have teams of an owner and a pet that is certified as a therapy animal,” said Ordained Deacon Ruth Dantzer, the Anglican Chaplain at UVic’s Interfaith Chapel. “Of course we make the exception for the baby goats. They are not certified therapy animals but they come from the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm.”
The Pet Cafe was started as a weekly event in 2017 as a way to draw students to the chapel to see the wide array of resources available – both religious and non-religious – including free yoga and meditation classes.
While normally around 150 students attend the regular Pet Cafes, the annual goat event draws over 600.
The program is sponsored by Multifaith Services and the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia.
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