Pet Connections Teams Up with University of Rochester to Offer Stress Relief Event for Students and Staff


February 7, 2018

Pet Connections, a division of Ontario ARC, has teamed up with The University of Rochester to increase opportunities for students and staff to de-stress.  Therapy dogs Winston, Enzo and Joey, who are all Golden Retrievers, will be on campus for their first visit from 12PM – 1PM, on Wednesday, February 14th, at the Saunders Research Building, 265 Crittenden Boulevard in Rochester.

The event is called a Stress Buster and allows for staff and students to de-stress. It’s part of a growing movement nationwide of therapy dogs and Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) improving the health of college students, staff, and faculty. The event is sponsored by the Health and Wellness Department at the University of Rochester.

Pet Connections, a program unique to the Northeast United States, is a division of Ontario ARC in Canandaigua. It was created in 2012 as a means of connecting therapy dogs and individuals with disabilities or other challenges to help people achieve their goals. For some, this means improving their fine-motor skills and range of motion. For others, it means gaining the necessary prevocational skills to secure a job. Dozens of therapy dogs and their owners work alongside Ontario ARC staff at day programs, residences, work sites, and in occupational therapy visits.

In its first six years, Pet Connections has grown rapidly. The program now includes dog training classes for the community, its own line of pet products sold in all 50 states via, a professional pet-grooming salon, the BAD DOG™ Spa, and many community partnerships. In 2017, Pet Connections launched a program to greatly increase the number of qualified therapy dogs working in the region by offering Animal Assisted Intervention volunteer certification and membership. Now, volunteers have access to therapy dog certification and liability coverage, giving certified dog and handler teams even more opportunities to volunteer in our community. Volunteers also benefit from educational and training opportunities provided by Pet Connections.

For more information about Pet Connections, contact Program Manager Brenda Burton, OTR at 585-919-2126 or Animal Assisted Activity and Therapy Trainer, Gail Furst, CPDT-KP, at 585-919-2146.

a division of

Pet Connections, a division of Ontario ARC, combines the healing power of pets with socialization to provide a unique experience for each person. Pet Connections was created in 2012 as the first of its kind Animal Assisted Intervention (commonly known as pet therapy) resource specifically developed to benefit people with disabilities or other challenges. Connecting animals and people is what Pet Connections is all about. To learn more, visit

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