“Paws and Relax:” A Hit at ASU
One of the hardest parts for students who go off to college is leaving their furry family members. For many of us, our dogs are a major stress outlet and source of happiness because of the unconditional love that they provide us day in and day out. The Paws and Relax program at Adams is here to help fill that longing for our dogs while we are away. The program consists of volunteers here at the campus who bring in their own dogs to love on students and also receive some for themselves. The event is a beautiful display of how truly loving dogs are and how student-dog interactions can brighten up a day, relieve stress, or just be an enjoyable time of relaxation. The program was formerly headed up by Lis Tomlin, who was the Director of Counseling at Adams and explained to me what Paws and Relax is and how it works. “It is a program centered around animal-assisted activity, not therapy” Tomlin clarified. “We want to give students the opportunity to relieve stress, hang out and just get some love.” After talking to Tomlin and witnessing what was taking place last semester, it was clear that the program was achieving its goals. Dr. Tracy Doyle, a professor in the ASU Department of Music is one of the volunteers who has regularly brought in her four-year old golden retriever, Molly, to hang out as well as give some love to the students who attend. When asked why she was involved with Paws and Relax, Doyle stated, “It is a mutually beneficial relationship, and it’s so great to see the students have an opportunity to interact with the dogs-and the dogs love it, too.” The four dogs that attended the event got as much love as they could have asked for, as students made the rounds from pup to pup. In addition to being charming and fun, Paws and Relax is determined to follow through with its main goal, which is to provide students with a chance to fill the void of having to be away from their dogs. Veronica Zavala, a sophomore at Adams, was asked why she attended the event and bluntly stated, “Because I miss my dogs.” Others such as Natalya Komleva, were there simply for the fun in saying, “I am an animal lover, and this is amazing.” The event, however, has not made an announced appearance since the fall semester, when the dogs and their owners came to spread their furry love at the Nielsen Library back on October 4th. If students and staff are adamant about making the event a weekly or even bi-weekly occurrence, they should share their opinions with the event’s contributors, as well as the rest of the club, and express how psychologically and emotionally important Paws and Relax is for college students who may be missing their own dogs, or just need one to love in times of stress or loneliness that can be experienced in college.