Sophomore Julianna Rohn told CPR, “They have Toby Time slots where students can just come in and hang out with him for a little bit if they want to cool down or need a break. He’s pretty great. He’s super sweet!”

Toby’s main role at the university is to help students feel at ease. Megan Shih, Toby’s owner and a counselor at the center, said he sometimes joins group sessions or helps break the ice when a counselor is working with a student one-on-one.

According to her, canine therapists are a really creative way to break up the rhythm of academic life, offering something extra to students who aren’t comfortable coming in and sitting down with someone for a counselling session.

Counseling Director Monica Ng said the special nature of dogs makes them really great counselors. They’re “just so loving and they’re very intuitive”, she says.

“I have heard stories from our therapists where students come in, they’re feeling anxious. And the dog literally leans in to them to comfort them,” adds Ng.