The purpose of the Professor Paws Project is to expand clinician knowledge and promote community awareness about service dogs through the utilization of a full-time facility dog at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa (OU-Tulsa). Oftentimes, health care 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 service dogs. 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 Professor Paws Project is currently growing! With the addition of Koa and Dr. Bragg we are beginning to work more on research within the confines of human animal (canine) interaction and how to better educate students and the larger community on the many roles of canines. Additionally, we are in the initial stages of starting an annual practicum placement for a graduate student within the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work, as well as designing and implementing an interdisciplinary graduate level elective on human/canine interactions. Our long-term goal is to one day have a truly interdisciplinary graduate level certificate.