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De-stressing, Fur Real

Therapy animals return to the joy of students suffering from exams

Students+taking+a+Break+4+Pawz
Students taking a Break 4 Pawz

Students taking a Break 4 Pawz

Juan J Palma

Juan J Palma

Students taking a Break 4 Pawz

Janice Peregrina, Staff Reporter

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Finals got you feeling “ruff”? The busy end to yet another semester brought the nonprofit group, Love on 4 Paws, back to campus on May 11 and the lovable furry therapy animals and their friendly trainers. Students were invited to interact with five therapy dogs and one therapy cat. The Mind Matters Initiative hosted the visit to promote healthy de-stressing before finals.

President and First Lady Covino, the founders of the Mind Matters Initiative, were present to support and interact with Love on 4 Paws and Cal State LA students. President Covino connected the non-profit’s visit to how Mind Matters functions as a positive resource for Cal State LA citizens.

“We know that the interactions with therapy dogs have a lot to do with relieving stress and helping people feel more positive, etcetera, and a number of campuses across the country have engaged in projects like this, especially around times like final exam time and all that,” Covino affirmed.

The school has invited Love on 4 Paws to our campus during finals season for a year now, and has been very popular each time the group has come. “People are really gathering around, having a good time. So I think that it does have an effect on inner well-being, which is what Mind Matters is about.” The Covino’s later took Windy, a seasoned therapy black Labrador, for a walk around campus.

Windy, along with Yurushi Fox, Mr. Scruffles, Charlie, and Summer the Cat made return visits to Cal State LA. Summer, previously nervous in the wide outdoor environment, was much more in her element and calm during her second visit to campus.

One new visitor, Lexy the eight-year-old Yorkshire Terrier was showered with attention from squealing admirers. The pup has an adorable quirk where her tongue sticks out while panting, a la Marnie the Dog on Instagram. Lexy’s trainer and owner Laurie, shared that she had been with the nonprofit for about two years now, and that she would keep working in therapy “as long as [her] schedule allows.”

Students all around shared how effective the animals were in making them feel better from exam stress. The event, which ran from 11:30 to 1PM, constantly had a line of students, and each animal was surrounded by a crowd of people eager to feed them treats, take pictures, or  pet them.

Thalia, a student who has come “every year, every semester” to see the therapy animals, said “I was actually at the aromatherapy section and then I saw the animals here, and I dropped everything…This [therapy pets] is more effective than oils,” she said. “They make you laugh.”

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De-stressing, Fur Real