During this time of misery, despair and self-hatred for having to cram for finals, students’ faces lit up as they walked into the library and saw six beautiful pups ready to play. Students followed the paw path and waited in line for their turn in the puppy station, where they got to just sit down and assure these puppies that they were in fact a good boy.
“It’s a fun thing to get excited about,” music education major Kelly Albright said. “It’s something that’s more positive than thinking if I’m going to pass or fail.”
The UNF Library organizes Paws for Stress with the Canine Companions for Independence each semester during finals week. Their goal is to help students relax at least a little during the most stressful time of the semester.
“It does lower your blood pressure to pet dogs,” Tammy Rosser, who is a volunteer puppy raiser, said. “It improves the chemicals in your brain that makes you happy…It [also] gets your mind off of all your personal problems.”
This semester students were visited by Kindle, Aslan Jovi, Gaston, Dash and Paul. These puppies were anywhere from six months old to two years old. For the youngest pup Gaston, it was the first outing where he got to play with people and other pups.
“They just make you forget about all your worries,” junior Samuel Coker said. “You just want to pet them and love them and cuddle them.”
The organization offers volunteers free puppies to train for a certain amount of time before going off to puppy college and finishing their training. After the puppies finish their training, they are assigned to a host family or someone who needs a service dog for free. But for now, these puppies are just making everyone’s day slightly better.
Like Rosser said, “Just that unconditional love and the wagging tail makes your heart sing.”
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