Introducing Newton, the newest addition to Concordia University’s team!
Introducing Newton, the newest addition to Concordia University’s team!
(Photo credit: Concordia University website) At just five months old, this adorable Portuguese water dog is already capturing the hearts of students and staff alike.

Newton-Concordia's first full-time therapy dog

Named after the renowned physicist Isaac Newton, Newton embodies the law of attraction with his magnetic personality and undeniable charm.

But there's more to Newton than just being cute. As Concordia's first full-time therapy dog, he has an important role in providing emotional support to students.

Research has shown that interactions with therapy dogs can reduce stress and anxiety levels, improve mood, and increase overall well-being. With Newton around, students can look forward to some much-needed cuddles and comfort during their time at university.

The law of attraction is definitely working in Newton's favor as his presence brings smiles to faces all around campus. Whether it's joining study groups or providing a momentary escape from academic pressures, this lovable pup is making a positive impact on the entire Concordia community.

So keep an eye out for Newton as he continues to spread joy and wag his tail through the halls of Concordia University. This furry addition is proof that sometimes all you need is a little puppy love to brighten your day!

Research - The Impact of Campus-Based Therapy Dogs

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a goal-oriented health intervention that utilizes trained animals to help individuals achieve specific therapeutic outcomes. One of the primary benefits of AAT is its ability to reduce stress levels in people [1, 2, 3]. Interestingly, AAT is not limited to a particular species of animal; any animal can potentially be part of the intervention [2, 4]. This inclusive approach allows for a wide range of people to benefit from AAT and opens up possibilities for unique and personalized therapeutic experiences.

The therapeutic use of animals has been recognized and practiced for decades, particularly in clinical settings where individuals with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, and substance addictions can benefit from this form of therapy [2,4]. Animal-assisted therapy has also proven to be beneficial for other populations as well.

In populations with mental health conditions, the benefits of interacting with animals have been well-documented. Studies have shown that such interactions can lead to significant decreases in depression, anxiety, pain, and pulse rates [5-6]. Animal-assisted therapy has also proven to be effective in reducing anxiety specifically in patients diagnosed with major depression [7].

The positive effects of animal interaction on mental health are particularly notable in children with disabilities. These interactions can provide a sense of comfort, companionship, and emotional support for children facing various challenges. Animals have been found to promote social interaction, improve communication skills, and enhance overall well-being in these children.

It is important to note that animal-assisted therapy should not be seen as a replacement for traditional forms of treatment but rather as a complementary approach. The presence of animals can create a calming and nurturing environment that enhances the therapeutic process.

Therapy dog interventions on students' physiological stress

Various studies have been conducted to explore the impact of therapy dog interventions on students' physiological stress factors. These studies have specifically looked at variables such as blood pressure, nerve growth factor, and alpha amylase.

One study by Barker et al. (reference 8) conducted a randomized exploratory study with a group of students (n=78). The participants were randomly assigned to a 15-minute therapy dog intervention session.

The aim of these studies is to understand how therapy dog interventions can potentially reduce physiological stress factors in students. By measuring variables like blood pressure, nerve growth factor, and alpha amylase, researchers can gain insights into the effectiveness of these interventions.

These findings contribute to the growing body of research on the benefits of therapy dogs in educational settings. Understanding the impact on physiological stress factors provides valuable information for educators and policymakers who are interested in implementing such interventions to support student well-being.


The findings of various studies suggest that participants exposed to therapy dogs during the final examination period had a better mood and affect than those who were not exposed.

Overall, the use of animal-assisted therapy has shown promising results in improving mental health outcomes for individuals with various conditions. Further research is still needed to better understand the mechanisms behind these benefits and to explore additional applications within the field of mental health.


1. Jarolmen J., Patel G. The effects of animal-assisted activities on college students before and after a final exam. J. Creat. Ment. Health. 2018;13:264–274. doi: 10.1080/15401383.2018.1425941. [CrossRef[]
2. Kamioka H., Okada S., Tsutani K., Park H., Okuizumi H., Handa S., Oshio T., Park S.-J., Kitayuguchi J., Abe T., et al. Effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Complement. Ther. Med. 2014;22:371–390. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.12.016. [PubMed] [CrossRef[]
3. Maujean A., Pepping C., Kendall E. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of animal-assisted therapy on psychosocial outcomes. Anthrozoös. 2015;28:23–36. doi: 10.2752/089279315X14129350721812. [CrossRef[]
4. Bert F., Gualano M., Camussi E., Pieve G., Voglino G., Siliquini R. Animal assisted intervention: A systematic review of benefits and risks. Eur. J. Integr. Med. 2016;8:695–706. doi: 10.1016/j.eujim.2016.05.005. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef[]
5. Charry-Sánchez J.D., Pradilla I., Talero-Gutiérrez C. Animal-assisted therapy in adults: A systematic review. Complement. Ther. Clin. Pract. 2018;32:169–180. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.06.011. [PubMed] [CrossRef[]
6. Nepps P., Stewart C.N., Bruckno S.R. Animal-assisted activity: Effects of a complementary intervention program on psychological and physiological variables. J. Evid. Based Complement. Altern. Med. 2014;19:211–215. doi: 10.1177/2156587214533570. [PubMed] [CrossRef[]
7. Hoffmann A., Lee A., Wertenauer F., Ricken R., Jansen J., Gallinat J., Lang U. Dog-assisted intervention significantly reduces anxiety in hospitalized patients with major depression. Eur. J. Integr. Med. 2019;1:145–148. doi: 10.1016/j.eujim.2009.08.002. [CrossRef[]]
8. Barker S.B., Barker R.T., McCain N.L., Schubert C.M. A randomized cross-over exploratory study of the effect of visiting therapy dogs on college student stress before final exams. Anthrozoös. 2016;29:35–46. doi: 10.1080/08927936.2015.1069988. [CrossRef[]

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