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The Otago Museum Reserve was dotted with tents yesterday, showcasing what the Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) and Dunedin businesses have to offer students.
But it was OUSA support dog Ella stealing the show. Ella helps students having a hard time to engage in student support.
OUSA student support manager Sage Burke said the cute canine got about 12 visitors a day at the OUSA’s support centre for various reasons.
‘‘People who miss their dogs, people who need some emotional support, or people who potentially want to see a student support adviser but do not know how to bridge that gap. They come to see Ella and because the adviser is there, they end up speaking to them.’’
An OUSA contract was made up for Ella, which was signed with her paw. She was paid in ‘‘love and cuddles’’.
OUSA president Jack Manning said Ella had been a great addition to their support team.
‘‘From external communication to helping on an emotional level.
‘‘She is a sweetheart keen for a tummy tickle and with loads of love to give.’’
The 7-year-old Labrador had a tough start to life herself.
She was adopted from rescue organisation Community Led Animal Welfare (Claw) in South Africa and flew to Dunedin in March last year with her owner, Ingrid Roding, the OUSA’s marketing and communications manager.
Since then, she had been a big help in presenting student support messages in a friendly way.
Ella has an Instagram page where the posts inform students of what OUSA student support can offer them and encourages them to feel comfortable about coming in for help.
Tent City, which is on again today and will finish up tomorrow, will be followed by Clubs Day.