A real fluff piece
Mind Matters welcomes back therapy animals just in time for finals
December 5, 2016
Filed under Health
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Finals week in the new semester system is sure to feel like dangerous and uncharted waters to many students. With tension and procrastination running high, it’s always a blessing when the campus provides outlets to calm the nerves and frustration of students. The reintroduction of the wildly popular “Break 4 Paws” event, where students can interact with lovable therapy animals, was a welcome addition to lessen exam stress at semester’s end on Tuesday afternoon.
The Mind Matters program partnered with the nonprofit group Love on 4 Paws to bring four volunteer animals to the main walkway to interact with students in between classes. Love on 4 Paws is a volunteer organization based in Los Angeles that is “committed to making a positive difference for those in need through animal assisted therapy,” according to their website. Along with school campuses, these lovely people also bring these therapy animals to hospitals and clinics to comfort those who are anxious and to generally brighten their days.
Three therapy dogs, and one therapy cat were definitely brightening the days of the students who came to see them. Students squealed in delight, snapchatted them to friends, and generally showered them in love and affection. It was apparent that these animals were having a positive and de-stressing effect on the student body, as smiles abounded.
“I liked Mr. Scruffles the best,” said Brenda, after visiting the pets with her friends. “His head was so soft.”
Mr. Scruffles is a calm, seven-year-old Yorkshire terrier mix. His owner Delilah was supervising her other dog Yurushi Fox right next to him. Yurushi is a newer therapy dog, who finished his training in July after being rescued just a year ago. Therapy animal training mainly calls for the animal to have a “good temperament” and to be “good with kids and other animals,” according to a volunteer from Love on 4 Paws. After an animal is screened and passes those factors, it must go through obedience training so that it is comfortable around new people and new surroundings.
The therapy cat, a green-eyed beauty named Summer, was a little nervous and shaky being outside on the big university campus, because according to her volunteer, she is used to being indoors in hospitals. However, she remained calm and allowed students to pet and interact with her. One of the more senior volunteer therapy dog, an eight-year-old black Labrador named Windy, was dressed in an adorable snowman costume and was definitely the most active dog of the bunch. She repeatedly licked faces and even “spoke,” much to the delight of her admirers. Windy has been a therapy dog since she was two years old.
It was heartening to see that the volunteers were having as much fun as students. Windy’s volunteer talked about how she enjoyed coming to Cal State LA and other university campuses, as she “remembered how stressful college can be.” All the volunteers graciously answered questions students asked and helped pose the animals for pictures, as well as letting students hand the animals treats. Overall, the event had a calm and cute atmosphere and was well manned by the Mind Matters staff.
For more information on Love on 4 Paws, visit their website at loveon4paws.org.