CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – More than 500 students gathered to alleviate their stress at the “Paws on the Island” event held at the Dugan Wellness Center Gym on Tuesday, May 5. During the event, students were able to sit and pet certified therapy dogs brought in by Paws Up, Inc. The non-profit organization provides animal-assisted therapy and activities.
“Paws Ups does therapy dog visits all year long. We visit nursing homes and hospitals. We also participate in reading programs at some local schools,” said Dr. Theresa Sharpe, Associate Director of the University Counseling Center, and member of Paws Up, who brought her therapy dog Sailor to the event.
“Research has shown that petting and interacting with a dog can relax a person, improve mood, and even lower blood pressure in some cases.”
“Paws on the Island” is sponsored by the University Counseling Center, Paws Up, Inc, and the Mary and Jeff Bell Library.
“Right now the library is open 24 hours, so we really get a good glimpse of the stress levels of students,” said Jennifer Anderson, Marketing and Communications Librarian for the Mary and Jeff Bell Library. “It’s the end of a long semester, and things are starting to heat up with final exams, so it’s really good to take a break.”
Along with giving students that much needed break, the event was designed to expose students to the many benefits of the Counseling Center through participation in a variety of fun, stress relieving activities including a silly photo booth with costume props, a bubble wrap popping activity, and arts and crafts.
“It’s a great event, and it’s nice being around dogs,” said Eric White, a senior Marine Biology major. “I have one back home, but not here, so it’s relaxing and fun to be around them.”
This year’s “Paws on the Island” marks the sixth time the event was held on campus.