Pause for Paws on CSUEB campus during midterms

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Pause for Paws on CSUEB campus during midterms

By Jessica Irrera, CONTRIBUTOR

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Fulton, Posey and Steph sit patiently as they perform important duties and await to get head pats, belly rubs, and ear scratches from passersby.

Emotional support dogs will be provided by Pause for Paws at California State University, East Bay’s campus for students who are dealing with midterm exam-related stress.

Pause for Paws events invite students to sit, lay and cuddle with trained emotional support dogs as they walk by the campus library or New Student Union.

PFP is organized through the Student Health and Counseling Peer Advocates for Wellness program to provide students with the opportunity to engage and interact with trained therapy dogs during midterms and finals.

A trio of fluffy yellow and black labradors in embroidered harnesses wait patiently under a red canopy for a petting from students walking by. Students approach nervously as the dogs roll to their sides and backs to expose their bellies to ask for a scratch.

“Students get stress relief, relaxation, and it brings them joy,” said Debbie Wanlin, co-owner of Steph and Posey, her black and yellow labrador support animals.

While the pups have been visiting CSU East Bay for years, this is not their only important task. The dogs can be found all around the Bay Area. Steph, Posey, and Fulton spend their free time at local kindergartens enjoying stories read by students.

Posey, a yellow lab co-owned by Debbie and Phil Wanlin, also provides emotional support for sexual assault victims while they testify in jury boxes.

This triad of emotional support heros may be busy with all of their important visitations, but they keep coming back to CSUEB every time they are invited and available.

Yellow labrador Posey and black labrador Steph have been coming to CSUEB for four years.

“[Fulton] came the last two years during midterms and finals,” Rick Henika, Fulton’s owner told the Pioneer.

PAW student volunteers arrange events like PFP and are able to inform and educate their fellow students about health and wellness issues like college related stress and exhaustion.

“Seeing the dogs uplifts my mindset and it makes me excited to walk around campus and go to class,” commented Angelina Garcia, a fifth-year student at CSU, East Bay.

PAW members and the owners of the dogs recognize the positive effect the dogs have on overwhelmed students and it inspires them to keep the program going.

“Students get stress relief, relaxation, and it brings them joy,” Debbie Wanlin commented.

Stress-reducing programs like Pause for Paws connect students and administration on a personal level.

“We provide a space for students to feel a sense of community on campus,” stated PAW Health Educator Nicole Travis.

Steph and Posey will both be on the CSU East Bay campus for the next two Pause for Paws events on Oct. 24 and Nov. 29.