PAWSS is a not-for-profit Animal Therapy program that offers unstructured animal- assisted interactions (AAI) at MacEwan University and associated educational institutions. We are the only Canadian University that has created, developed and implemented distinct animal wellness programs aimed at supporting student, staff and faculty mental wellness and improving presenteeism.
Students of all ages experience a variety of stressors and it can be hard to be successful if stress and anxiety is perceived as negative and not managed. The types of stressors students experience may include academics, friendships and relationships, financial, social, employment and mental health and wellness. All student programming at MacEwan and associated educational institutions is aimed at enhancing mental wellness and student success.
PAWSS animals participate in the following programs. (1) Drop In PAWSS programming allow students, staff, and community members to interact with handler teams (PAWSS handler and animal) during scheduled dates and times throughout the academic year; (2) PAWSS pop-up program sees handler teams attending activities/programs that are collaborated with other programs across campus (3) PAWSS in the Classroom sees the course professor bringing their certified animal into the classroom environment and is designed to decrease student stress, anxiety and enhance student focus and learning and (3) PAWSS in the Workplace program sees staff and/or faculty members attending work with their certified animal, and is designed to decrease faculty, staff, and student stress and anxiety and enhance individual wellness and presenteeism.
PAWSS provides a service component to MacEwan University as well as a scholarly component.
While the PAWSS program began at MacEwan University, we recognize the need for wellness animals and AAI within the greater educational community and have partnered with Edmonton Public Schools to support PAWSS programming at the following schools:
Edmonton Public Schools:
Constable Daniel Woodall School: Weekly drop-in program
Ekota Elementary: PAWSS in the workplace
Grosvenor Elementary (PAWSS in the classroom/PAWSS in the workplace)
J. Percy Page High School (PAWSS in the classroom (ISP program)/PAWSS in the workplace)
Menisa Elementary (Read-in weekly program)
Scona High School: Weekly drop-in program
PAWSS in the News
CBC TV (January 15, 2020)
How furry pals at MacEwan University are reducing student stress (Jan 16, 2020)
The PAWSS dog days of summer (Aug 27, 2019)
Saluting our PAWSS dogs on National Pet Day (Apr 11, 2019)
PAWSS Dog Lucy on a mission (Mar 28, 2019)
MacEwan Security Staff Member Dejan and Dog Ajax (Oct 30, 2018)
Helping animals help students (Apr 2017)