What is MU PAWS?

What Is MU PAWs ?

MU PAWS is our Campus Therapy Dog Program. Our teams are campus and community members who dedicate their time to providing this amazing resource to our campus! Our Therapy dogs go into classrooms, attend campus events, and have Paw-ffice hours to promote wellness on our campus!

MU PAWS Mission

To partner with faculty, staff, and students to integrate and promote wellness using our community therapy dogs.

Therapy Dog

A dogs that has been specifically trained to provide emotional assistance, affection, and comfort to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other institutions. Applies to certified therapy dogs through Therapy Dogs International, Alliance of Therapy Dogs, or another equivalent organization.

Therapy Dog Handler: An Individual who is responsible for and in control of a therapy dog.


  • Aid students who struggle with homesickness, test, and social anxiety.
  • Aid students with LD/ADHA have many co-morbid issues like depression, anxiety, etc.
  • Could contribute to a sense of belonging—feel more at home.
  • Ease stress during midterm and final week
  • Aids in decreasing anxiety
  • Veteran students
  • Contribute to a positive, friendly environment—home-like environment
  • Demonstrates support for students
  • Could help to de-stigmatize mental health issues.
  • More positive learning environment
  • During tutoring sessions in POST
  • Petting a dog lowers blood pressure
  • Useful to veterans with PTSD
  • Help with pain recovery/management
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Help with focusing (especially with ADHD)
  • Friend to those who are lonely, homesick, stressed, or depressed
  • Help to those who are mourning or experiencing crisis, death, sickness
  • Improves the culture and climate at MU
  • Conversation openers for shy students
  • Calming, normalizing (presence of a dog supports a kind, emotionally-regulated, typical-type-day environment vs. a high-stakes, testing-type environment
  • Relieve stress caused by financial issues
  • Provides canine companionship to those who cannot have an animal due to poverty or cannot have one on campus
  • Mental health benefits
  • Counseling services
  • Helpful to individuals with autism? (study 2015)
  • Petting a dog reduces blood pressure
  • Lower levels of stress hormones and an increase in oxytocin
  • “having therapy dogs on campus is cheaper than hiring extra counselors or treating stress-induced disorders at medical clinics”
  • Lower drop-out rates