Melissa Cowell and Pamela Ovadje gather barkMelissa Cowell and Pamela Ovadje gather bark from campus sycamore trees for shipment to research collaborators seeking anti-anxiety treatments for dogs.

Campus trees to salve canine anxieties

Biochemistry students gathered the bark of sycamore trees on campus Tuesday to supply researchers at the University of Ottawa seeking to soothe dogs’ nerves.

“You know how dogs get anxious, during thunderstorms for instance?” says professor Siyaram Pandey. “We are collecting this material for our collaborators who are using compounds in it as anti-anxiety medication.”

The trees naturally slough off the bark, so gathering it poses no risk to their health, Dr. Pandey says, noting they are plentiful in the area: “Our campus is full of them.”