Mental Health Week 2018 Kicks Off With Dogs, M.D.: The Return

By Hanna Ho (Class 2022)

Images courtesy of UPCM Collective

Dr. Yan Yan waiting for the students and faculty to come and play

For the first day of the Mental Health Week 2018, the UP Medicine Student Council (UP MSC) brought back the much-awaited therapy dogs from the Philippine Animal and Welfare Society (PAWS). Six well-trained dogs came over to UP Manila last October 22, 2018, for Dogs, M.D. : The Return.

Held in rooms 105-107 of Paz Mendoza from 12 noon through 3pm, the dogs were warmly welcomed by students, faculty, and staff of the UP College of Medicine (UPCM) and Philippine General Hospital (PGH) community looking for a temporary safe haven from heavy school days, draining exams, and hours of hospital duty.

The dogs came with their expert handlers who were ready with treats and anything else they or the visitors might need.

On why they decided on this event, Carl Roma, member of the Academics and Research Committee of the UP MSC said, “After the success of the first Dr. Dogs therapy session and upon constant urging from the students, we decided to bring our fluffy friends back for another day of pets and cuddles! It’s a great destress for our animal-loving students and a perfect start to MH Week.”

The lovely doggos, which were Dr. Yanyan, Dr. Dongdong, Dr. Moo, Dr. Storm, Dr. Lady, and Dr. Rajah, have all been trained thoroughly, assessed for temperament and obedience, and have all passed their medical or health tests to become graduates of PAWS’ dog therapy program. This 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.

Students and faculty took time during their breaks to cuddle the fluffy visitors.

Despite having exams, lectures, and work that day, the room at Paz Mendoza was filled with people who strategically made use of their lunch breaks and free time to play with the dogs. Even clerks and interns dropped by for a cuddle. An unfortunate incident occurred when Dr. Storm mistook Dr. Moo for a rat and made to bite him but accidentally nipped a student who happened to just be in the way. Luckily, well-trained dog-handlers and the UPCM admin were quick to provide emergency first-aid and assessment for any other treatments the student may need.

Some dogs were calm and quiet while others actively roamed around the room, searching for treats.

Visitors of Dogs, M.D.: The Return were all sad to see their session with the therapy dogs come to an end, but everyone happily made way for succeeding batches to have their turn to interact with these lovable creatures.

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