Emily Heath

A paw-pular pre-COVID activity at Keene State is making its return this semester — therapy dogs will start visiting residence halls every Thursday until December. 

The dogs made their first campus appearance since 2020 on Thursday, September 8 in the Living Learning Commons (LLC). Throughout the semester, Paws 2 Play will occur from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. in different residence halls across campus. The program took a two year hiatus due to COVID-19.

Paws 2 Play is a collaboration among the Wellness Center, Community Living and Monadnock Therapy Pets said Coordinator of Wellness Education Tiffany Matthews.

Students can visit with the dogs as a way to relieve stress. “It’s just a great way to reduce stress and connect with faculty, staff and professional staff who help with volunteering, as well as connect with our partners in the community and just hang out with the dogs and also to just be with each other,” Coordinator of Wellness Education Tiffany Mathews said.

Paws 2 Play is open to on-campus residents and their guests. First-year Somachi Amadi said the event helped her de-stress after the first week of classes.“[It] definitely helped my stress levels. I love dogs,” said Amadi. 

Amadi also expressed how he wanted to meet all the dogs but could not because of how busy the event was. “I think this will help [everyone],” Amadi said.

         Ethen Stearley, a LLC resident,agreed the event helped him relax. “It was a great event. It was nice getting that stress relieved especially with dogs… This is kind of like a good outlet.” 

         First-year Reganne Trevino, said, “I absolutely love any opportunity to see a dog or to hold a dog, so this was great.” 

She mentioned how great it was that the dogs will be visiting on a weekly basis. “[It] would be wonderful, beneficial for everyone,” said Trevino.

         Ryan Mooney, first-year at KSC, described the event as a “great idea, it offers kids who are kind of struggling the first couple of weeks to come and hang out. It’s nice and chill and easy and [to] play with the dogs.” 

         Paws 2 Play saw around 120 students come down to hang out with the therapy dogs. Monadnock Therapy Pets had three teams (handler and therapy dog) for the students. In groups of 15, students filtered through for five minutes at a time.

         The semester therapy dog schedule is available on the Wellness Center social media pages, as well as on the TV slideshows in each residence hall.

         Additionally, Mathews said the Wellness Center is eager to help students with their needs. “We want to make sure the people know that we’re there and we’re eager to help support them and their physical and emotional wellbeing,” said Mathews.

         The Wellness Center is located on the third floor of the Elliot Center.

Timothy Bruns can be contacted at

tbruns@kscequinox.com

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