Hey readers!

If you haven’t heard about the pet café yet, then let me be the first to tell you about the weekly free drop-in pet café that happens every Wednesday from 2:30-4pm at the Interfaith Chapel.

I repeat, WEEKLY pet café.

That is completely FREE!

Not only that, but they also host laughter meditation at 2:45 every Wednesday to compliment the pet café. I had been to the pet café before, but I had never tried laughter meditation, so I decided to check it out, and BOY WAS I NOT DISSAPOINTED!

I dragged one of my friends out of the library and we made our way to the far side of the campus. Now, if you haven’t visited the interfaith chapel before, it might be a bit hard to find. Its located next to parking lot 6 in the outer ring. It’s a beautiful little building right next to Finnerty gardens, a perfect place to get away from the busyness of university life.

We got there around 2:35 and the first thing we noticed was a group of people on each side of the doorway sitting together and chatting. On closer inspection, we noticed they were all gathered around one of the very things that drove us there in the first place: PUPPIES!

My friend and I grabbed some free cookies and coffee and took a seat. The dogs were all very sweet and calm. All the animals at the pet café are trained therapy animals and often come on a regular basis so they are very accustomed to all the human attention.

At around 2:40 there was an announcement that the laughter meditation was about to start! So, we said goodbye to the puppies for the time being and got settled in the main chapel to get started with the laughter meditation. We were greeted by our teacher, Gene Furbe, a laughter-yoga instructor of over 10 years, sitting with a circle of yoga mats and cushions.

As we were getting settled in, Gene gave us a brief introduction. I found myself already starting to chuckle as he was talking.  I’m not sure whether my giggles were from the sugar and excitement of seeing the puppies’ moments ago, or if was from Gene’s contagious smile. Either way, it was a great start.  

Gene told us to lie on our backs and to just… start laughing. Now, I know this sounds a bit strange. How can you just start laughing for no reason? And yea, It did feel a bit awkward at first (after all, we were just a bunch of strangers lying on our backs staring at the ceiling), but I think the awkwardness of the situation is really why I started laughing, and let me tell you, once I started laughing, I couldn’t stop!

There we were, a group of strangers lying on our backs, laughing hysterically at nothing more than ourselves. Gene had encouraged us to “play” with our laughter, so there was a whole orchestra of laughter going on, making it all the more contagious. The whole situation itself was funny enough for us to keep going.

After about 10 minutes of this, Gene instructed us that it was now time for 5 minutes of mediation. We stayed in our positions and started to focus on our breathing. I had done meditation before, but this time it felt a bit different. My body was still experiencing the joy brought on by the laughter, and I felt a kind of peaceful optimism as I centered my thoughts on inhaling and exhaling

After that, we did a quick debrief and I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Everyone else used words like calm and joy and relaxed to describe their experience with the laughter mediation.

The reason we all felt this way was because laughter is a natural stress-relieving mechanism. It causes the release of endorphins which is a natural chemical in our bodies that causes a sense of well-being, and also helps combat hormones that make us feel stressed. On top of that, laughter is also a great way to develop social skills and bring people together. This all explained the smiling faces and peaceful mindset we all experienced in the room that day.

Once the meditation was over, there was still some time left of the pet café, so I sat down, grabbed yet another cookie, and chatted with the owner of the most adorable little doggo I’d ever seen. Altogether, the combination of the laughter meditation and the pet café was the perfect boost to get me through the rest of the week.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Pet café, or LOL meditation, check out the Multi-faith services website. They also have a bunch of other cool programs that are worth checking out (I think I want to check out their Earth Meditation programs next).

Love always,


The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.