Stress relief with donuts and dogs

All Smiles: Jasmine is smiley and happy to see new friendly faces.

On Sept. 17, the East Union Lawn was welcomed with a cute and cuddly surprise.

The Office of Student Involvement and Development (OSID) partnered with Prairieland Visiting Animals Association and Pet Partners to bring therapy dogs onto campus and to brighten up the day of students and faculty. Providing donuts was another plus. What better way to enjoy a nice Thursday morning than with donuts and dogs?

Tim McHenry, a volunteer at Prairieland, was walking his dog on campus one night and had many people asking to pet his dog, Cheyenne. McHenry got the idea to bring therapy on campus to bring some smiles to people’s faces.

“I thought we could be of some service to the students here,” said McHenry.

He and Patricia Alferez, a student worker at OSID, decided that it would be a good way to boost morale during new COVID lifestyles and the stressful college weeks ahead. Alferez understands what the students like, free food and dogs, which is how she knew this would be the perfect event.

“Our students love dogs: therapy dogs, and really any type of dogs,” said Alferez. “We love seeing them on campus. They’re really great for our students with stress, and relieving anxiety.”

With the constant stress of school, paired with the uncertainty of COVID, Alferez knew that this would be the best form of relief.

There were four dogs that were ready for belly rubs and head scratches. The first dog was Cheyenne. She is a 5 year old Lab/Great Pyrenees. Cheyenne loves hiking and exploring.
Next, there was Sparky, who is a 9 year old Havanese. Sparky loves to read with kids at the library. Then there was Jasmine. Jasmine has been a therapy dog since 2014, and her greatest accomplishment was getting over her phobia of sound to become a therapy dog. Lastly, there was Azul who is a lovable greyhound.

These dogs were a pleasant surprise for anyone walking to and from classes.

Nick Courtney, a bystander, was pleasantly surprised at what he came across. “It’s always nice to see trained dogs and friendly people,” said Courtney.

OSID is planning more fun events like this to give students an opportunity to stay connected and safe throughout the year.

Edited by Jason M., Joelle Conway