Puppies Invade Campus–to the Delight of Stressed-Out Students
By Buzz McClain
Who let the dogs in?
Some 15 puppies invaded the Levy Atrium in Hazel Hall at the Mason School of Law on April 24, and if the canines were intimidated by the piercing squeals of the dozens of students who greeted them, they didn’t show it. For the next two hours, the students petted and played with the pooches, temporarily forgetting about their nearly due papers and all-important final exams.
Which is exactly the idea. The third Puppy Day at the law school successfully gave the students something else to think about during the particularly stressful final exam week. Cuddling with a puppy–and nuzzling with one of the five three-week-old kittens who crashed the party–clears the mind, recharges the body, and gets the student ready for those brain-jamming finals. From all reports, the mission was accomplished and a de-stressing good time was had by all.
But for the volunteers who brought the critters to the campus, the event was just as important to them and their animals. “This is so mutually beneficial to all of us,” says Debbie Marson, a volunteer with A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation who helped launch the first Puppy Day in spring 2011 with Mason staffer Rusty O’Connor. “This is so good for the dogs who get attention and get a chance to socialize. We like to get them as much exposure to different experiences as we can before they’re adopted.”
The dogs are homeless rescue dogs from A Forever-Home and Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, and while the Mason event is not publicized as an adoption opportunity, at least two of the puppies caught the eye of Mason employees who filed adoption papers. (An assistant dean adopted a puppy after the December Puppy Day.)
The publicity from Mason’s first Puppy Day drew attention from schools as far away as Alaska, which requested information on putting on their own event. Marson says she was overwhelmed by the response and since last year has taken puppies to Puppy Days at American University, Georgetown University, and the University of Maryland, which opened the day up to the entire student body, attracting thousands who wanted to play with the puppies.
Who knew there were that many stressed-out students?
To read more stories about Mason, check out the university’s News site.