Final exams weighing you down?Â On MondayÂ April 28,Â Student SenateÂ is bringing therapy dogs and search and rescue dogs to the QuadrangleÂ in an event that aims to bring stress relief to students in light of upcoming final exams. FromÂ 11Â a.m.Â to 4Â p.m., 25 dogs will be on the Quad welcomingÂ students toÂ play withÂ them.
Counseling Services willÂ also be present at the event. They will have a booth set up providing information about their services and how students can getÂ in contact with them. From 1Â p.m. to 4Â p.m., a search and rescue demonstration willÂ take place, showing how these search and rescue dogs are trained and how they perform inÂ givenÂ situations.
The event, titled Rhody Paws,Â took place for the first time last year. According to Sarah Patterson,Â Student Senate cultural affairs chairperson, the idea came fromÂ JosephÂ Maynard, current president of Student Senate.Â Therapy dog ownerÂ Kathy RumseyÂ used to bring her dog, Fenway,Â to Barlow HallÂ once a week and this inspired theÂ inaugurationÂ of Rhody Paws.Â
“It kind ofÂ just stemmed from there,”Â PattersonÂ said. “People loved it in Barlow so we decided to bring it to the masses of URI.”
In coordinating a spring event for last year, Student SenateÂ consideredÂ theÂ incidentÂ that had occurred at the Boston Marathon.Â
“We were thinking about… how we could incorporate these tragic events and how we could really make it into something beautiful and something that is good for the community,”Â PattersonÂ said.Â
She creditsÂ MaynardÂ to thinking of the therapy dogs from Barlow.Â The SenateÂ contactedÂ Rumsey, who put them in touch with a number of therapy dog owners.Â
To bring these dogs in,Â Student Senate partnered withÂ Pet Partners, a therapy animal organization that provides therapy animalsÂ to events, retreats, hospitalsÂ and the like. The organization provides these animals by contacting therapy animal owners whoÂ then bring their pets to these events.Â
According to Patterson, about 500 students attended this event last spring. WithÂ only eight dogs last year, the Senate hopes for an even biggerÂ turnout this year with 25 dogs.
“It’s just a way to [get] stress relief, a way to get involved in the campusÂ and really just bring the community together,”Â PattersonÂ said. “That’s really what our goal is, to create community relationships and have every student feel like they really do belong on this campus and I hope that events like these can really foster that kind of community.”
This event is free, butÂ anyone is welcome to make a donation. All donationsÂ willÂ goÂ to theÂ Animal Rescue League of Southern Rhode Island.Â They will be collecting money donationsÂ in addition to goods such asÂ dog food, treats, leashes, and toys.
“What better way to relieve stress than to pet someÂ cute dogs and hang out on the Quad on a nice day,”Â Patterson said.Â Â Â