Remotely and collaboratively evaluating a campus-based therapy dog program during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the wellbeing of university students and adults in general, emphasizing the need for mental health programming that was compliant with physical distancing mandates. The present evaluation investigated mental health and social connection within the context of COVID-19 by remotely evaluating a virtual animal-assisted activity at the University of Saskatchewan - PAWS Your Stress. The purpose of this article is to outline our evaluation methods and findings, while calling specific attention to the collaborative strategies that were implemented within a remote, time-sensitive context. The evaluation findings revealed that remote animal-assisted programming can facilitate connections with humans and animals, and promote multiple mental health benefits, despite the lack of physical interaction with the animals. Our lessons learned indicate that remote program logic modelling workshops are feasible when suited to audience demographics. Further, our experience suggests that the Most Significant Change technique (a qualitative, participatory, storytelling method that elicits outcome data) can be useful in time-restricted evaluations, and the necessity of central steps in the process may vary depending on evaluation goals. This project has implications for future evaluation work, by demonstrating the effective use of remote methods that allowed for successful stakeholder collaboration.
|Publication Title||Eval Program Plann|
|Author Address||University of Saskatchewan, Room 191, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A5, Canada. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.University of Saskatchewan, Room 191, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A5, Canada.University of Saskatchewan, Room 154, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A5, Canada.University of Saskatchewan, Room 1109, 9 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5A5, Canada.|
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