Pet Therapy @ uOttawa

4 cartoon dog faces, looking happy

Update - 2021:

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pet therapy dog teams are practicing physical distancing and have stopped their visits. However, the pet therapy dogs would like to still "visit" you. Join us for special "virtual" pet therapy sessions!

Next session: Friday, January 22nd, from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (and most Fridays during the semester)

With: A few of our usual visitors from the uOttawa pet therapy activities!

Where: Via Zoom or 

Language: Trilingual (English, French, Woof)

Online pet therapy : extra content!

a dog lying near a computer

Want some more pet content? The various organizations from which our volunteers come have a lot of stuff on their YouTube channels!

Especially since the beginning of the pandemic, they have posted various videos made by their volunteer handlers, such as snapshots of dogs’ life, virtual play sessions and lots of "reading time" videos, where the handlers read a story with their dog!

Have fun exploring their channels:

Ottawa Therapy Dogs

St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs

Therapeutic Paws of Canada

Welcome to Pet Therapy!

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, all in-person pet therapy activities are cancelled until further notice. You can find the virtual pet therapy events on Fridays on our online events page!

Pet therapy is an initiative that allows individuals who may be experiencing stress, a difficult situation, or who may just enjoy the benefits of cuddling a pet, to improve their wellness by spending time with therapy dogs who come to provide support on campus.

Thanks to the kindness of local pet therapy organisations, the University of Ottawa is able to provide pet therapy to our students via the dog and handler teams who volunteer their time to visit our campuses.

There is no cost to come to a pet therapy session, and attendance is first come, first served.

Group of students surrounding a dog on its back


Meet the dogs!

Current dogs

A husky dog proudly sitting in the snow.


Hello there! My name is Kima and I was named after the police detective in the HBO TV series, The Wire. I’m a Husky mix and my vet thinks I’m part German Shepherd because of my big ears.

When I was only 5 weeks old, local police officers rescued me in my small Northwestern Ontario community, so I LOVE people in uniforms. I think that’s why I have a special talent for spotting police vehicles from far away; before my parents can even see them!

I was certified as a therapy dog through Ottawa Therapy Dogs in 2017 when I was 8 years old and I love it because I just get to lie there and get my belly rubbed.

My favourite thing to do is sun tanning all year round – in the grass, in my mom’s garden and in the snow. I also like to find the toys and treats that my parents hide around the house for me but I have to share them with my annoying little sister Winter.

Fun fact about my mom: she works as a Health Promotion Specialist here at the University.

A golden retriever wearing a Canada hat, looking unamused.


Hello there! My name is Happy and I'm a golden retriever.

I was certified as a therapy dog through Ambulance St. John. I've been coming to uOttawa for a few years now and I love it! I have three regular places every week, so I'm a very busy dog.

I've been asked many times "Why do you do pet therapy?". Well... Are you kidding? I get attention! I get petted. I get massages! I get told constantly how gorgeous I am. Everyone smiles at me. I get to spend tons of time with my human Mom. There's no better life!

As for my hobbies, I am crazy for stuffies! They musn't be too big, though, and NO squeakers. I love the crunchy sounding ones. I take one out every time I go outside and my human Dad brings them all in at night, so that I can do it all again the next day.

I've been made to wear hats occasionally, but this is not something I enjoy at all. I “frown” and bear it just long enough for photos. Sometimes those outrageous humans try sunglasses on me .... WHAT?! How totally ridiculous.

Fun fact about my mom : she thinks she owns me... But I definitely own her!

A black dog is lying in the snow, looking at the camera.


My name is Pablo. I'm 6 years old. I’m a Rottweiler and Flatcoat retriever mix, but if you look closely, you might find a few small white spots on my coat... I was certified as a therapy dog in 2018. To tell you the truth, I was born a therapy dog, but my family took some time to recognize it. I love people. In addition to working at the University of Ottawa, I also visit a pain clinic and a mental health unit at a local hospital.

I am always amazed to see how much people enjoy petting me, rubbing my belly or putting their head against mine. It's as if they do not realize that I enjoy their presence as much as they do mine. I'm so comfortable in the Health Sciences library of the University of Ottawa that sometimes I make some sounds to express my delight.

I'm a calm dog, that's right, but you'd be surprised to hear my bark when someone approaches my house. My deep voice does not match my sweet face or temperament. I am a docile dog. I listen to my family members, no matter if they speak to me in French, English or Spanish. The only exception to this is when we go for a walk along the Rideau River, near my home. If it’s a beautiful sunny day, I can’t resist. I have to run in the water. I love to play in the water. Nothing can stop me!

My favorite things are: playing with my squeaky green ball, kayaking, eating a fried egg on a Sunday morning, putting my snout deep in the fresh snow, playing hide and seek (especially when treats are involved), rolling in the grass, surprising people with big wet kisses and sleeping in a tent with my family.

white frizzy dog on a couch


Hi frens! My name is Uzi and I am a 2.5 year old purebred mutt (others have called me a goldendoodle). I was rescued by my mom at 14 weeks and she says it was one of the best decisions she’s ever made, I mean really, just look at this face!

Originally I was supposed to be 40 lbs and today I tip the scales at 82 lbs, but that just means that there is more of me to love right?

I passed my emotional support animal designation in the fall of 2019. I am so happy to meet new people and get hugs and belly rubs and make other people feel better.

My biggest weakness is carbohydrates and my favourite foods are French fries with pita bread and puppuccinos (a.k.a straight-up whipped cream) from coffee shops.

Fun fact about me: I understand four languages and am fluent in bark.

Other dogs - Picture gallery

Miso, Sam and Fergus are also frequent visitors to uOttawa pet therapy!

two small dogs with long ears, wearing Gee-Gees scarves

Fergus and Sam

An average-sized frizzy brown dog, laying on the floor, getting pets.




A small white and curly dog sitting for a pose, with his pet therapy certification bandana.


A small golden retriever smiling with his tongue out,.


A golden retriever

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How do I participate in a pet therapy activity?

Pet therapy generally happens on a weekly basis on both main campus and Roger-Guindon campus during the Fall and Winter semesters (except Reading Week, statutory holidays and the exam period), plus on a few special occasions (special events, Wellness Week, etc.). The schedule is available above.

Just show up! It’s free! Participation works on a “first come, first served” basis.

Is pet therapy only for students or can employees take part as well?

Any member of the uOttawa community can come spend time with our therapy dogs, whether they are employees or students.

What are pet therapy dogs?

Pet therapy dogs are not service dogs or animal-assisted therapy dogs. They are dogs certified by volunteer organizations, who visit various locations in their community, such as campuses, hospitals, and nursing homes, and help to improve their occupants' wellness.

The key organizations with which we partner to provide pet therapy on our campus are:

Therapy dogs are generally of a calm and loving nature, are well-mannered and have been adequately socialized (i.e. they react well to new things). They go through a behavioural assessment along with their human handler in order to ensure they are suitable to take part in pet therapy visits.

What are the benefits of participating in pet therapy?

Pet therapy can have a beneficial impact on both mental and physical health. Studies have shown that a friendly interaction with an animal (e.g. petting) helps, among other things, lower blood pressure, reduce overall pain, and ease feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. It can be useful to have therapy pets available for students throughout the term to help with their wellbeing.

How can my dog become a therapy dog and visit the uOttawa campus as part of the pet therapy program?

uOttawa does not have its own pet therapy program. The volunteer dog and handler teams who visit our campuses come through a partnership with the following key organizations:

If you’re interested in becoming a dog and handler volunteer team for uOttawa pet therapy activities, we advise you to contact one of the above organizations to inquire about evaluation and certification.

We encourage you in this endeavour! There is great demand for pet therapy in the community and it’s very rewarding work, for both the handlers and their pets.

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