Tis the season to be jolly. But also, perhaps, a little bit stressed.
Between final examinations, gift buying, preparing for the holidays, travel, and other seasonal activities, there’s a lot going on for faculty, clinicians, staff, and students in the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).
To alleviate some of that stress, the VMTH sponsored a hospital-wide door decorating contest and, on Dec. 13, invited Aggieland Pets with a Purpose to offer some “puppy therapy.”
“It’s a busy time of year, with both our work and personal lives, so it was really nice to have something fun to do,” said Andrea Tyrrell, Large Animal Hospital (LAH) business associate who helped organize the day’s activities. “With everything going on, we’re trying to keep spirits high, enjoy the company, and find a fun way to celebrate. The VMTH does a lot to encourage holiday outreach and get people together”
The four Aggieland Pets with a Purpose therapy dogs and their humans visited the LAH administrative staff and stopped at several services in the Small Animal Hospital (SAH) for some petting and photos. They included longhaired Dachshund Daschle, owned by Kit Darling; Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Anna, owned by Joy Robinson; Goldendoodle Parker, owned by Krista Blight; and collie mix Raven, owned by Karen Snowden.
“Aggieland Pets with a Purpose provides a great service; the fact that they’re willing to volunteer to bring the pets and help build emotional support for our employees, I think, is really important,” Tyrrell said.
Aggieland Pets with a Purpose, which has been serving Brazos Valley “with the unconditional love of our trained and evaluated pets,” routinely visits nursing facilities, St. Joseph Hospital, and area schools. More recently, they’ve visited Blinn College and at Texas A&M, Evans Library, the Medical Sciences Library, Zachry Engineering Education Complex, the School of Public Health, and graduate students with in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).
“It is a busy time for us because we do a lot of stress relief activities,” Darling said. “It’s also a stress reliever for us; I can have a busy day at work and, while it takes some work getting our animals ready—they have to be bathed—when you see somebody smile because they’re enjoying our pets or you have someone in a nursing home or hospital who hasn’t really responded to people respond to dogs, it really makes your day.”
Other activities sponsored by the VMTH as part of their holiday outreach include a cookie contest, an annual holiday lunch, a wear your Christmas attire day, an ornament-decorating contest, and a cookie exchange.