By Joi Muñoz
Published 2019 November 4 – From November 2019 Issue
Talakayang Alay sa Bayan (TALAB) is a program established by the Ateneo de Manila University to give its students more awareness about issues that are surfacing in our society today. This year, BOx had the honor of organizing TALAB: Healing Paws, a talk on animal assisted therapy (AAT), held on October 8, 2019 at the University Dorm Roofdeck.
Mr. Ronald Cruz, ADMU professor, BOx founder and Communitails Board Member, began the event with a talk regarding the history of AAT, and explaining how according to research, animals have a significant healing effect on us humans in terms of our neurobiology and psychology. However, this type of therapy doesn’t have as much exposure as it should, which is why organizations such as Communitails continue to make efforts to bring AAT into the limelight because the benefits from this could help a great deal of people.
Students were then given the opportunity to raise any inquiries they might have about AAT. After the Q&A, a demonstration was facilitated by Dr. Camille Asuncion with Rita, a therapy dog, and her owner, Dr. Ma. Regina Estuar. Rita was introduced to be a newly certified dog who had just begun working under Communitails through AAT services
“Healing Paws was her first gig as a therapy dog,” said Rysa Espina, BOx’s AVP for Bioeducation. “Since she’s new to the AAT world, we advised everyone to be calm with her since she might get overwhelmed with the amount of participants. So when she entered, everyone was quiet but were silently cooing at how cute she was.”
The demonstration with Rita involved her showing off the commands and tricks that she knew. Some of the participants were able to pet Rita, who responded to their attention happily! Just as Rita did for the participants in this TALAB talk, she, along with her fellow therapy dogs, will continue to spread joy to any person they interact with.