Paws to De-Stress returns to OSU campus

Wes Flow, News Contributor

Students lined up outside the Student Experience Center Wednesday for Paws to De-Stress, an event which brought therapy dogs from the Corvallis-based organization Welcome Waggers to the Oregon State University campus.

The free event, organized by Oregon State University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, ran from 12pm to 1:30pm at the SEC plaza, drawing a crowd as people lined up to get a pet. Wednesday was the first of two days for the event, with the dogs returning on Thursday from 12pm to 1:30pm as well.

Many of the attendees had heard about the event in advance, through one of many different sources.

“I think I saw it in an email…and it was in the back of my mind,” said Alex Tubby, a second year student double majoring in math and physics. “I thought I’d pop by if I had a little bit of time to spare.” 

Tubby also said this wasn’t the first time he had gone to a Paws to De-Stress event.

“They did this program last spring, near the end of the year,” said Tubby, “That was really fun.”

The event’s promotion was not limited to an online campaign, with some participants having heard about it from in-person presentations.

“They did a presentation in my class…last week,” said Hannah Granger, a first year environmental engineering major. 

According to Granger she knew she wanted to come to the event when she first heard about it. 

“I heard about the event online,” said Oswaldo Garcia, a first year student studying kinesiology. “I go to a group every other two weeks, and they let us know about this event.”

Others heard about the event through posts promoting it on social media.

“I heard about it from the OSU CAPS Instagram,” said Faith Townsend, an oceanography and oceanic science major. “I think it was just dogs,” Townsend said, about why the CAPS Instagram post caught her attention, “I really like therapy dogs.”

Among the crowd, there was interest in seeing Paws to De-Stress return at a later date.

“I would definitely come again,” Townsend said. 

For students unable to attend the events on Wednesday and Thursday, there will be another chance later in the academic year, according to CAPS. 

“We will have the event again in May around midterms,” said CAPS official Tess Webster-Henry. 

For some, looking to shed some stress from this term’s midterm exams was a big reason for going. 

“Midterms are stressful,” Townsend said, “and I haven’t seen dogs in a while.”

Others, like Tubby, were there for other reasons.

“I wouldn’t say the midterms specifically,” said Tubby, about what he was stressed by, “but more that classes kinda ramp up this time of year, so it’s a great way to de-stress.” 

Welcome Waggers is a volunteer therapy dog organization whose dogs serve the Corvallis area. 

Each member of Welcome Waggers is also a member of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, a national organization that provides testing, certification, and support for people who volunteer with therapy dogs.

According to the Welcome Waggers website, a therapy dog is a dog that is, “trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, libraries, people with learning difficulties, and in stressful situations.”