OTTAWA -- Carleton University’s therapy dogs can no longer physically engage with students during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are still offering love and support virtually.

Carleton’s Therapy Dogs program is posting a live video streaming session on its Instagram page during the pandemic to help support students and followers.

Program lead Shannon Noonan tells CTV Morning Live they decided to host virtual sessions in response to a flood of messages she received about the therapy dogs.

“We are just providing some virtual love and support to anybody who wants to watch, mostly students,” said Noonan on Wednesday.

“We got the idea just from seeing other accounts kind of starting to offer more online, and a lot of requests we were getting for virtual visits with the dogs.”

Noonan says visitors to Carleton’s Therapy Dogs Instagram page can offer comments on the page, and request the dogs receive some extra treats.

There are five live sessions a week on the Instagram page, giving students a chance to see the dogs.

With exams underway at Carleton University, Noonan says the dogs have been a boost for students.

“They’re really enjoying having some time with a friendly doggy face, and just being able to de-stress during this time whenever COVID is taking up a lot of our mental energy.”