OU-Tulsa has become an educational leader by being the first university to have a full-time canine to assist with the educational process. Oftentimes, healthcare professionals, students, and potential service dog users do not understand the benefits of service dogs. The lack of knowledge can lead to underutilization of service dogs and create barriers for people who benefit from the use of them. The Professor Paws Project addresses these issues by providing interactive hands-on learning experiences for students, health care professionals, and the community about the benefits of service dogs.
The College of Allied Health on the OU-Tulsa campus offers both an occupational programs and physical therapy degree programs. Because service dogs are often a valuable step in the recovery of the patients these students serve, faculty understands the utilization of service dogs during their college program is an enriching and valuable learning experience for the students. Niko, known as Professor Paws, is a trained service dog who teaches these students about how service dogs can assist future patients - such as opening the refrigerator, turning the light on and off, as well as picking up an item that has dropped on the floor.
Additionally, the Professor Paws Project works toward educating the community about the benefits of and laws surrounding service dog partnerships. During the 2018-2019 academic year, Professor Paws will expand further to include presentations to middle and high school students in the Tulsa area. These school presentations will be conducted by OU-Tulsa College of Allied Health students, in partnership with Niko, and will focus on the benefits of service dogs. The presentations will also include information on occupational and physical therapy for students to consider as future careers.
Your contribution will assist with Professor Paws Project expenses, including canine meals, care, training, as well as program materials, travel costs and student expenses.