Pete’s Pet Posse Tulsa (P3T) therapy dogs have eased the stress of exams, comforted in times of sadness and spread smiles on an ordinary day on the OSU-CHS campus.
Lucy, a 5-year-old black Labrador, is a regular in the Student Lounge on Tuesdays.
“The students’ faces just light up when they see Lucy,” said the dog’s owner, Amanda Sumner, OSU-CHS registrar. “They all know her now and choruses of ‘Luuuucy!’ go up whenever they see her.”
P3T began in 2015 and is an expansion of the program launched at OSU-Stillwater as part of the university’s America’s Healthiest Campus wellness initiative. P3T has graduated two classes of dogs.
OSU-CHS President Kayse Shrum, D.O., frequently brings her pal, Deuce, an 11-year-old Labrador mix, to hang out with students, faculty and staff.
Other equally popular four-legged friends make frequent appearances on campus, including Max and owner Ashley Adkins, director of university affairs; Max Meek, with owner Bill Meek., Ph.D., professor of anatomy and cell biology, and his wife Sharon; Blue with owner Jessica Bradley, OSU-Tulsa Career Services coordinator; and Tahlula, with Marnie Pettit and her husband, OSU-CHS Provost William Pettit, D.O.
The dogs and their handlers act as greeters when prospective students visit the medical school, participate in fun events such as National Dog Day and Howl-O-Ween and generally bring joy every time they step on campus.
“P3T brought comfort to the OSU family during a difficult month in January,” said Ashley Adkins, director of university affairs and P3T coordinator. “If we bring a smile to one person’s face, it makes all the difference.”
Because of its beneficial impact on students, faculty and staff, P3T has become an active and integral component of the OSU-CHS wellness program.
On April 3, P3T will host a Lunch and Learn at noon in Founders Hall to provide more information about the program and how to schedule a dog’s appearance at an event.
In addition, Lara A. Sypniewski, DVM, Henthorne Clinical Professor of Small Animal Medicine at OSU-Stillwater, will make a presentation on whole dog wellness.
“There are a lot of staff members who like getting visits,” Sumner said. “Some days a faculty member will say, ‘You knew I needed you today, didn’t you?’ It means so much to people.”
To support the P3T program’s training and educational events, donate online to the OSU in Tulsa Pet Therapy Program Fund.