Pets of NAIT

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Arts & Life

Be it a cat, dog or bird, many people have had a pet at some point in their lives. There is often an irreplaceable bond between humans and their pets; these animals usually become our best friends, helping us through hard times. According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, a 2022 survey showed that 60 per cent of Canadian households own at least one dog or cat – for a good reason. Studies show that pets can help reduce stress and ease loneliness. They can also help support a healthy lifestyle through the distractions they give. 

I spent time with my own pets, interviewed a NAIT student and met with Flynn, NAIT’s therapy dog, to get some insight on how pets affect student well-being.

The first pets I’d like to talk about are my own. I have two dogs, Ripley and Jackson. Ripley is a german shepherd, greyhound and border collie cross. Jackson is a purebred golden retriever. Jackson’s intense optimism and Ripley’s sweet hugs are always an important part of my day. My cat, Delilah, also often comes in for guerrilla cuddles. I also have a rescue dove named Peace who sings and lays eggs when she’s happy. If I’m ever feeling down, I know my pets are there to comfort me or brighten my day.

Dominic Lucas, a computer engineering student at NAIT, has a different experience with pets. His roommate has an array of fish that live in a tank set up as a self-sustaining ecosystem. He also has a lizard named Zelda and a snake named Udon, named after its noodle-like appearance. Lucas commented that Zelda and Udon are easy to take care of, but still provide a distraction from stressful coursework. He also feels that snakes get a bad rap. Snakes are “predictable and just sort of chill out around your shoulders,” said Lucas. Lucas brought up the negative image these types of pets have, clarifying that they can be just as affectionate as other animals.

NAIT students who don’t have pets at home can count on Flynn to get their pet fix. Flynn is an Australian labradoodle who’s been on staff as NAIT’s therapy dog since 2013. He’s super friendly and has had extensive training in his field. While he’s getting older, he’s still “the busiest” member of the student counselling team. When he’s not travelling around campus with his handler, NAIT students can find him at the student counselling offices in the HP Centre.

Whether they’re a cat, dog or lizard, pets can help with our day-to-day stress. So, if you need a furry, scaly or feathered friend to keep you company, consider spending time around a pet. Even something as small as watching a hamster run on its wheel or a fish swim around its tank might help you destress.

Cover Photo: Flynn, NAIT’s therapy dog, grins up at the camera. Credit: NAIT

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