Puppy Love: Rescue dogs bring stress relief, fun to campus, students


Tomhas Huhnke/Iowa State Daily

Eric Reents, freshman in kinesiology, plays with Sally at the Inter-Residence Hall Association’s Pet Therapy event in Linden Hall on April 23. Rescue dogs were available for students to play with to relieve the added stress of the end of the spring semester as many students prepare for the summer.

Dalton Bergan

The Inter-Residence Hall Association hosted a “Pet Therapy” meant to give students an opportunity to relieve stress before Dead Week by getting to pet and play with all kinds of different dogs.

The event took place from 4 to 6 p.m. April 23 in the main lounge of Linden Hall. The event was originally supposed to take place in the Richardson Court courtyard but was moved due to issues with the weather.

Because the event was moved inside, IRHA members had to quickly cover the Linden lounge with plastic to protect the floors and furniture.

“Basically, you get to come and interact with the residence hall staff members’ pets,” said Laurelin Haas, IRHA director of events. “It’s a nice chance to [relieve stress] before Dead Week when everyone’s ready to be done with school.”

Students who participated in Pet Therapy were asked to sign a waiver agreeing that they were liable for their own actions and that they assumed the risks of interacting with the animals.

There were seven dogs present in total, all of different colors, sizes and breeds. 

“I actually played with all of them at some point,” said Haley Bailey, freshman in political science. “There was one that just laid on its back and let everyone pet it while it got fed treats. That’s probably the happiest I’ve ever seen a dog in my life.”

While some students attended the event to calm their nerves, others like Bailey were there just to have some interaction with animals.

“I’m in to pretty much all kinds of animals,” Bailey said. “I’ve got two dogs at home, but I obviously don’t get to spend much time with them while I’m at college. [Pet Therapy] kind of just helped fill that void.”

Pet Therapy was aimed at giving students a chance to have fun, but many of the dogs seemed to enjoy the event just as much as any of the students.

“I thought it looked like they were having more fun than we were,” said Josh Engelhardt, freshman in software engineering. “I don’t know how they were so energetic the whole time and didn’t get tired at all.”

Two bowls of treats were set out so that students could reward dogs for doing tricks or simply cooperating. Toys were purchased by IRHA and made available to students who wanted to play games with the dogs.

“The one was actually playing fetch and catching [the toys] in its mouth,” Engelhardt said. “A lot of [dogs] got so used to getting treats, so they were just walking from person to person looking for more.”

Both the students and the dogs seemed satisfied with what turned out to be a popular event.

“This might be my favorite thing I’ve gone to all year,” Bailey said. “I don’t see why events like this don’t happen more often.”