This summer OSU announced the opening of the nation's largest university-based pet therapy center coming this fall. The center will be an evolution of Pete’s Pet Posse and will be home to both Pete’s Pet Posse and the Ruff Riders, the group of student volunteers in the program. The center will be based out of the Student Union; However, furry friends will continue to be active on campus.
“Our mission is still to go out and serve students around campus.” Kendria Cost, Director of OSU Center for Pet Therapy said.
With the opening of the pet therapy center, it will provide a place where people can come in and ask questions about the program, but it will not always serve as a home for the dogs.
After OSU opened back up campus last year while still following guidelines by the CDC, students were hit with various problems regarding mental health. It was an extremely challenging time for some students and utilizing Pete’s Pet Posse is one-way students could help relieve some stress during these emotional times.
“I can speak to what I see on a daily basis, these animals break down barriers and reach students and staff in ways that humans cannot necessarily reach.” Cost said.
After what started as a vision of wellness from former First Cowgirl Ann Hargis, Pete’s Pet Posse has only continued to grow. Now home to over 130 Ruff Riders and 60 teams of dogs, it is safe to say that pet therapy at OSU has been a tremendous success and provided yet another resource to help students on campus adjust to college life.
Students will be able to continue to utilize the resource to help break down those barriers and get help in the areas that they need.
“I think that pet therapy is really important to so many groups of people, it really helps to get that stigma that surrounds therapy broken down in order for students to open up.” Summer Long, a sophomore at OSU said.
With the opening of the center this fall, it provides an opportunity for Pete’s Pet Posse and pet therapy at OSU to not only continue to impact students and faculty, but also continue to grow itself. Pet therapy at OSU is here to stay and will only continue to provide more opportunities for students on campus.