Therapy Dogs Make it Just in Time


Joshua Mejia

A labrador retriever greets a Cal State LA student. Paws-to-share arrive on the Cal State LA campus in time for finals week to destress students.

Christopher Lazaro, Staff Reporter

It’s that time of year again where anxious students preparing for finals get one-on-one time with some furry friends. The school’s Health and Wellness center hosted “Break for Paws” in which Paws-to-Share, an organization that provides animal visits, brought therapy dogs to help students destress from finals.

“Break for Paws” got off to a rough start as event organizer Veejay Atilano said there was a miscommunication with Paws-to-Share. “They thought that the event was going to start on Wednesday, so we had to call them and tell them that the event was today. So the event started an hour late,” he said.

Despite a late start and miscommunication with Paws-to-Share, the event saw a big turnout with students having the chance to interact with the dogs.   

Four dogs were available for petting, playing, and giving treats to. Art major Jessica Henriquez said it’s her first time going to this event, which turned out to be a great experience: “I’m already having a good time. Petting the dogs takes a lot of worry off me.”

Henriquez added there should be more events like this. “Who doesn’t love animals? Who doesn’t like to pet a dog? I think it benefits students because [it gives] a break from all the stress and what to worry about you know, just to have a good time and a fluffy companion to hug.”

One therapy dog owner, Elise Dua, said students can also volunteer. “For this particular business, you need to [do] basic training with your dog so that they can follow simple instructions like sit, stay and come,” Dua said. “It also depends on the dog. My Dorie is very calm and loves everybody.”

Dua added, “Paws-to-Share, [is] always looking for great dog handlers and great dogs.”

Atilano said heis hoping he can do this event twice next semester: “This is the first year we did this twice for this semester. We did the first one during wellness week, so we are trying to do this two times next semester.”

For more information on becoming a dog handler, visit