At Pune’s Symbiosis International University campus at Lavale, Pound and Dollar are making students go crazy. Pound and Dollar are not currencies but two Labrador puppies who have been introduced in the university to help students better cope with stress, loneliness and homesickness. We spoke to Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director, Symbiosis International University about the unusual initiative.
1. Why was this initiative taken?
“I have two labradors at home and I know how they can positively boost one’s well-being by showering love and warmth. After a tiring day, when one reaches home, one feels wanted and loved. They are great stress busters. I know that though students walk into the campus with a lot of dreams, somewhere they do miss their family and feel homesick. Sometimes, due to loneliness and fear of being in a new city, they also get into addiction. Thus, I decided to try pet therapy as an experiment.”
2. Where are these puppies from? What are their names?
There are two puppies on the Symbiosis International University campus on Lavale. Both are Labradors, one is called Dollar and the other is Pound. Dollar is the black one, and Pound is the beige one. They were brought from Pune itself, and are yet to undergo training as they are too young.
3. Was the experiment of the therapy helpful?
Although it has hardly been a couple of weeks since the puppies have been on campus, it is already showing effects.
4. Why was this initiative taken all of a sudden?
The initiative is not sudden. It is being planned since a long time. The announcement of the initiative was made nearly three weeks back at an event, and the students welcomed the move with much enthusiasm.
5. Has bringing the puppies helped the people around?
Yes it did, here a couple of students take on it.
6. Any piece of advice to other educational institutions heads regarding this initiative?
Fortunately, the puppies have been accepted well by the students. Other than the conventional academic learning, this is an experience that the students will take back with them and cherish all their lives. I feel that all universities should adopt pet therapy.
We spoke to a couple of students about the puppies and whether their presence has had any effects on the campus.
“There’s a lot of good energy flowing, the atmosphere has become chirpy and positive. Unlike earlier, when everyone stuck to their work, studies and assignments or their group of friends, now we are bumping into each other more often when we are playing with the puppies, cuddling them and pampering them,” said Sourabh Dubey, one of the students, whose parents are settled in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.
Snigdha Dixit, a student, said, “I am an animal lover and have a pet dog – a labrador – at my home in Bhopal, where my parents stay. Having a pet around definitely makes a lot of difference. Now, I feel at home. Besides, the bonding between the students have also increased from the time the dogs have joined us. Whenever we come to them, we find someone or the other with them”
“Dollar and Pound, the two cute labrador puppies have brought happiness all around the campus. Their innocence, mischief and silly fooling around brings a smile on everyone’s face” – Omkar Pradhan, Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication).
“Dollar and Pound have brought in a whole bunch of energy and love with them, and students are literally vying for their affection. Both of them are very active, and it’s a stressbuster to spend just a few minutes with them. Everything they do is adorable!” – Nupur Kedia, MBA, SIMC.
“Dollar and Pound. Yes our hostel pups are called by this name. They are generally the stress busters, as they can get smiles on many faces with their cuteness. It’s a great initiative taken by SIU and we are all really thankful to them”, Priya Mitra, MBA, SIMC.
“Dollar and Pound are one of the best things which has happened to me on this splendid campus. These two little bundle of joys are the epitome of cuteness. They are a part of the Symbiosis family. The amount of love and care which they have for us fellow humans is beyond any measure. I cannot think of this beautiful campus without thinking about these two. The whole initiative is so thoughtful. There can be no one and nothing better than these two poochies to help us beat the monotony of the hills and make us feel closer to home”, Mouli Khulbe, MBA, SIMC.
“I know how it’s like to have a dog. Had one for 16 years and all she gave me is joy and unconditional love. Dollar and Pound have brought a smile to all of us here on the hill and having them here has been heart warming for us. Love the fact that they’ve been given to us to take care of”, Namrita Khurana, MBA, SIMC
Special thanks to Nupur Kedia, Head- Content for Media, SIMC, Pune for supplying all the relevant information.