Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

August 2015

Pete's Pet Posse coming to OSU-Tulsa, OSU-CHS

Rocky, one of Pete's Pet Posse therapy dogs.

Rocky, one of Pete’s Pet Posse therapy dogs in Stillwater, recently visited OSU-Tulsa for the TCC President’s Luncheon.

The Oklahoma State University Pet Therapy Program – also known as Pete’s Pet Posse – will be making a second home at OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences.

First launched in Stillwater as a pilot program in 2013, the popular program is expanding to include OSU-Tulsa and OSU-CHS. The pet therapy dogs will be greeters and campus ambassadors and will be available for clinical or crisis situations.

“These dogs will take part in our recruiting efforts and will help students, faculty and staff relieve stress,” said Sandy Cooper, assistant vice president for human resources and coordinator of the Tulsa program. “The local program will be an additional wellness benefit for both Tulsa campuses.”

Eleven dogs and their owners are under consideration for Tulsa Pete’s Pet Posse.

“It is a rigorous process of training and testing that the dogs and their handlers will go through to become a member of Pete’s Pet Posse. It requires time and commitment,” she said.

Dogs must undergo a physical exam and a disposition evaluation. Once accepted, dogs and handlers participate in an eight-week training program. During that time, the animals must pass the Canine Good Citizen test and become a certified therapy dog.

The animals and their handlers will graduate at a “bark-alaureate” ceremony in September, Cooper said.

“In our applicant pool, we have a good mix of breeds and ages of dogs. Many are rescue dogs,” she said. “We will have them come for events and for times such as Finals Week. Pete’s Pet Posse will enhance the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff here in Tulsa.”

Pete’s Pet Posse was created by the OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences in Stillwater with cooperation from the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital, University Counseling, Human Resources and the Employee Assistance Program.

The goal of the program is to positively enhance physical and emotional health and contribute to the success of America’s Healthiest Campus Initiative launched in 2014.

For more information about the program, visit http://www.osu-tulsa.okstate.edu/hr/petespetposse/index.php.

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