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A serene snugglefest: Pause 4 Paws brings furry friends to FSU

Dylan Pichnarcik / THE GATEPOST

By Liv Dunleavy

Staff Writer

Pause 4 Paws visited FSU for the second time this semester in the Alumni Room Dec. 4 and 6. There were a myriad of furry friends of all sizes from George the cat to Roxie the golden-doodle all spread out for students to pet and snuggle.

The event is sponsored by three FSU organizations - SEALS (Strength, Education, Action, Leadership, and Support), FSAB (Framingham Student Activities Board), and FSU’s Health and Wellness Center - and it is a collaboration with the Pets & People Foundation.

Haley Hadge, a senior English major at FSU and SEALS peer health educator, said SEALS hosted the event a few times this semester, and although not present at the Dec. 6 event, alongside the therapy dogs the cat named George is very popular.

“We try to do it around midterm and finals seasons so it’s like a de-stress station for students, faculty, and professors,” she said.

She also mentioned there are usually tables set up with a theme, and this event’s theme was sleep health.

“A lot of times we do sleep health around midterm and final seasons because we know studies show students tend to do better when they have enough sleep, and consistent sleep,” she added.

Hadge also stated the Pause 4 Paws event is their most popular event, and people say the event is “a nice break.”

Daleri Garcia, another peer health educator for SEALS, said the event “is a good community builder and it also builds awareness on the topics that we do, such as cannabis awareness and alcohol abuse.”

One of the dog’s handlers, Peg Burgess, said having events like this are important because she understands it’s a stressful time from her own personal experience. She said when she’s having a stressful day, seeing her dog makes it suddenly not so bad.

Burgess said she and her dog Roxie do other types of events as well, such as a library event where children read to the dog.

She said Roxie “is a very happy dog, and she’s never met a human she doesn’t like.”

Chris, another dog handler, said she and her dog Snowy come to these events because “petting the dogs at this time of year just decreases the stress levels and calms any anxiety that students might have.”

She also added she and Snowy normally attend events at schools, universities, and they’ve also worked with assisted living in the past. Chris said Snowy has a “very happy and affectionate demeanor.

“He loves people, loves children, and likes to relax with everyone,” she added.

She said when students come in and they see the dogs, their faces brighten, and they leave with a smile.

Tyler McKeen, a junior psychology major, said he came to the event because he loves pets, and being around all of the animals and doing the calming activities helps him to de-stress.

He said he has pets at home and he hasn’t seen them in a while, and before Thanksgiving break he hadn’t seen his own pets in two and a half months, and now he “feels so much better.”

Lucy Forgit-Stringham, a sophomore psychology major, said she missed the Monday Dec. 4 Pause 4 Paws event and made sure to set time in her schedule so she could make it to the Dec. 6 event. She said the dogs make her very happy.

Forgit-Stringham said she has eight animals back home, is used to being around animals, and doesn’t go home often, so this event is like a refresher for her.

Minor Alarcon, a sophomore biology major, said he was in the student lounge with his friend when she urged him to go and see the dogs.

“It’s just so amazing, they’re the cutest things. The stress just disappeared - it’s so fun,” he said.



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