Who let the dogs out?


Midterms are coming, and Active Minds wants you to let loose and de-stress. On March 7, dogs and cats will be available for visiting in the Maucker Union Ballroom. This year, there will be a surprise special quest from a unique kind of therapy dog, so make sure to check it out from 6-7pm.

This event is one of the biggest Active Minds put on throughout the year, garnering the attention of over 100 students last semester. This is no mistake. In addition to a widespread love of seeing furry friends, there is a growing need for student activities focussing on de-stressing, especially during this time of year. Audrey Vint, vice president of Active Minds says, “Having the animals during midterms allows for students to take a few minutes of their time to relax with fluffy animals and destress.” As Active Minds focuses on student mental health and wellbeing, they are well aware of the help that pets can offer.

Therapy animals are widely known to decrease anxiety and boost self esteem and energy,

something that is much needed coming out of the winter and into intense testing periods. Many students across campus are struggling at this certain time in the semester. As classes pick up, personal time decreases, leaving students with low energy and strain on their mental health.

Sidra Vespestad, third year biology and nursing student says, “I always get really unmotivated and stressed out during this time of year, because of the shorter day and how far away the end of the school semester seems.”

This isn’t the only part of the problem, however. Vint mentions how homesickness can kick in during this time. 

“We also host this event because many students are away from home and miss their animals,” she says. “Having animals on campus brings joy to students who might miss their own pets.”

This is true for multiple students. “Every time I get to come home, I am in such a better mood and more motivated to do my homework, it’s weird. I feel a lot more calm when I am around my pets,” Vespestad says. “For students that live further away or don’t have the opportunity to go home, it’s a wonderful chance to be in that de-stressing, calm environment.”

Jaye Haines, third year strategic public relations major can also attest to this, saying, “Animals have always been a source of happiness for me and they are always such a joy to come home to.”

Active Minds partners with P.E.T.P.A.L.S., a volunteer organization that brings therapy animals to hospitals, care facilities, group homes and educational buildings. 

P.E.T.P.A.L.S. was organized in 1983 as an extension of the Cedar Bend Humane Society. What makes them extra special is that the animals are actually personal pets of the volunteers, after going through screenings for suitability. Because this organization is 100% volunteer based, the event is low on cost and high in fun.