MU Paws Therapy Dogs Available to Students on Campus


MU Paws (Providing Awareness Wellness & Support) are therapy dogs that Marshall has had for a year and half.

As the semester is down to its last five weeks, stress has become heavier on students and faculty who need something to improve their mental health.

According to Dr. Backus, a professor of education, the College ofEducation had been waiting to pass the recommendation for the program by faculty Senate.

This was passed last week, only needing the president’s signature to become an official program on campus.

“Before the pandemic, there was so much research and literature about emotional and mental support for students at any age level. The number of suicides were increasing so we wanted to do something to help the emotional and mental health of not just students but staff as well,” said Backus.


Backus said, when someone pets a dog, they just start smiling.

“There’s a lot of stress out there for our students and all of this started before the pandemic, then the pandemic hits, there’s stress and emotional help that students need right now,” Backus said.

Robin Ash isa trainer and tester for therapy dogs.

All the dogs are tested through Alliance of Therapy Dogs, a national organization.

The handler owns the dog, and each must go through the training to be registered.

She said dogs must get more trained to learn the different sounds such as a skateboards, bicycles, scooters, etc. Dr. Backus said each dog has their own personalities.

Isabella (Fairy costume) likes a lot of people around her; Lily (Butterfly costume) is more of a one-on-one dog, Ivy (Nemo costume) has lots of energy, Juner (Taxi driver costume) just flops over and wants scratched.