The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Therapaws event promotes improving mental health through dogs

Illustration+by+Tj+Favela.
Illustration by Tj Favela.

LAUREN HARPER
reporter
collegian.editor@tccd.edu

TCC TR Campus hosted Therapaws, an event where students and staff could destress with therapy animals.

Partnered with Pet Partners, an international non-profit organization, volunteers brought trained dogs and cats to socialize with stressed attendees. During these sessions, the animals would cuddle, play with toys and show off tricks for treats.

And with years of evidence to justify this decompressing tactic, TR library’s circulation manager and event coordinator Stephanie Wineman believes it’s a no-brainer addition to a higher education campus.

“We’ve been doing this for 10 years,” Wineman said. “We’ve had quite a few repeats, which tells me they’re getting something.”

Not just students have expressed appreciation for these events. Professors and faculty have been regulars, especially during exam seasons.

“Mental health is very important, especially for the younger generations coming in right now,” Wineman said. “But faculty can get just as stressed as students. They’re there to encourage their students; sometimes they just need that extra bit of relief.”

Donna Jett, a seasoned Pet Partners and Therapaws volunteer expressed her praise for the program and its benefits for everyone involved.

“The words I usually hear is ‘I really needed this today’,” Jett said. “Most of the students will tell you that it helps to relax them. It plants a little calmness in the day.”

Jett explained how even the animals involved enjoy their time.

“It’s been an enjoyable experience for the students and the dogs,” Jett said. “The dogs just love to come. They get petted and treats … it’s a good thing all around.”

These furry companions have provided services at schools, hospitals and even memorials. With frequent re-evaluations, the animals are prepared to help in a variety of uneasy scenarios.

“All animals and handlers are reevaluated every 2 years to make sure both are still suitable for the program.” Lynne Buchwald, another Pet Partners volunteer assured.

Buchwald reiterated the potential medical advantages of therapy animals.

“By nature, they can lower your blood pressure. They can be consoling and keep you calm,”
Buchwald said. “That’s the basis behind the therapy animals is just to provide that kind of support.”

TR will conduct another gathering for finals May 11 in TREF 2105 at 11 a.m..

“TCC offers mental health-focused events as therapeutic support, not just for classes,” Wineman concluded. “It’s important to treat the whole person.”

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