By Lorena Osorio (Class 2021)
Images courtesy of the UP Medicine Student Council
A group of therapy dogs from the Philippine Animal and Welfare Society (PAWS) came to visit Calderon Hall last September 21, 2018.
Held in the lobby from 12 noon through 3pm, the dogs were welcomed by students and faculty and staff of the UP College of Medicine and Philippine General Hospital community looking for a way to de-stress from a study- and work-filled week.
The project was organized by the internal affairs committee of UP Medicine Student Council, composed of Manuel Luis Borja (Class 2024), Gabriel Roberto Baybay (Class 2022), and Jose Mayo Viray (Class 2021), along with Leandro Salazar (Class 2022), Rausche Blaser Sausa (Class 2023), and Tranquil Matthew Salvador IV (Class 2023). The event was organized with the UPCM Office of Faculty and Student Affairs.
“One of the taglines that our committee has been using throughout the SY is, ‘MSC 42, here for you’, and that’s exactly what we wanted to achieve with this project,” says Luis Borja. “We wanted the student body to know that their student council is here to help them relax and destress from all the toxicity of their academic workload, and one fun and engaging way to do it, we thought, was through therapy dogs.”
The furry visitors, which were Dr. Parker, Dr. Yanyan, Dr. Dongdong, Dr. Pachuchay, Prof. Jedi, Dr. Leo, Dr. Argus, and Dr. Torby, have undergone rigorous training under PAWS to become therapy dogs. Once dog trainees have undergone and passed a medical or health test, a temperament assessment, and an obedience test, they graduate to become “doctor dogs”. PAWS’ dog therapy program regularly caters to sick or aged individuals in hospital wards and institutions for the aged. Other advocacies of the organization include animal rights and welfare.
Despite class suspension and rallies on that day, the makeshift playpen at Calderon Hall was filled with people who came to meet and play with the dogs. Even clerks, interns, and PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi came for a visit.
“We do plan on holding another therapy dogs session,” says Borja. “We’re thinking of a bunch of other options, like bringing it to the pedia ward in PGH and RTRing the dogs in med classes.”