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Sherman with handler and UW Oshkosh Clinical Social Worker Kim Charniak.

It may only be for a couple of hours, but, for the first time ever, a pack of dogs will be invited into the residence halls at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

On Monday, Sept. 26 from 6 until 8 p.m., the pack of furry friends from Compassionate Canines will visit Evans, Stewart, Fletcher, Gruenhagen and South Scott Halls as part of a new Pet Perk Me Up program, which is designed to build caring and compassionate communities on the UW Oshkosh campus.

“This is a great opportunity for students to take a break and get to know other residents in their halls, visit with a pet and learn more about their community by taking part in it,” said Kim Charniak, clinical social worker at UW Oshkosh’s Counseling Center.

The Pet Perk Me Up program is a collaboration between UW Oshkosh Residence Life, Counseling Center and Compassionate Canines.

“Through the Pet Perk Me Up program, residents will become familiar with other people in their hall, while also learning about the Counseling Center, which is a very valuable resource for them to have during their time on campus,” said Abby Sylvia, coordinator for staff and student development in the Department of Residence Life at UW Oshkosh.

Charniak, who also oversees UW Oshkosh’s Counseling Center therapy dog, Sherman, said she hopes the Pet Perk Me Up will send a message to students about the importance of getting involved on campus.

“We thought the program could be a great way to connect residents at a time when homesickness might be kicking in and provide residents with some wellness information.  We know that many of our residents have pets at home that they miss a lot and this program is a way that they can spend a little time playing with animals, share their stories of their pets at home, while also connecting to others in their halls who share similar stories and interests,” Sylvia said.

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