“Love On A Leash” event helps students de-stress with therapy dogs

Editor’s Note: This story has been reformatted to better explain the event and republished under the same headline. 

The Point Loma Nazarene University Wellness Center, Educational Access Center (EAC) and Delta Alpha Pi (DAPi) worked in collaboration to host their recent event called “Love On A Leash” in the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) from 2-4 p.m. on March 20. The event poster stated that it would be a time to “take a load off and pet a furry friend.” 

The event began with three therapy dogs coming in and visiting with the students. The dogs were very eager to greet them, and they visibly appreciated the attention as they wagged their tails energetically. Students laughed and smiled as they petted the dogs and chatted with their owners, making for a warm and cheerful atmosphere. As the event continued, the organizers brought out free Chick-fil-A and goodie bags for students to enjoy. 

This event was organized by three Delta Alpha Pi members: Nicole Perry, Regan Sanchez and Grace Cook. Delta Alpha Pi is an honor society and club that spreads awareness about disability and mental health issues. 

According to Sanchez, the main goal of this event was to help students de-stress as midterms are ending and the impending end-of-the-semester rush is beginning. She also wanted to bring awareness about the DAPi club through creating a moment for students to pause by luring them with cute dogs.

“De-stressing, in my opinion, can help give people a ‘reset’ before they move on to homework, practice, etc. I think when DAPi brings dogs, it excites people! I think it gives people a piece of home,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez recommends moving your body, getting outside, seeing friends and journaling to help alleviate stress. Activities like getting food with people, exploring San Diego and free writing are some of the things she thinks can help counteract the worry and energy depletion brought on by stress. 

“You can get to the root of different stressors or problems and evaluate the best way to combat them in ways that work for you,” Sanchez said.

Madison Kall, first-year psychology major, attended the event and noticed a change in her mindset after taking time out of her day to relax. She currently feels a great amount of stress because she is struggling to get adjusted to being in college and transitioning to a new way of life. She is also navigating difficulties with the social aspect of college, specifically trying to cultivate new friendships. 

[“Love On A Leash”] definitely helped relieve my stress. That is why I wish it would happen a lot more. I feel like if it had happened more in the first semester, it would have been way easier to get adjusted because dogs are awesome and they don’t judge you,” Kall said. 

Kall states that, for her, the most memorable moment of “Love On A Leash” was being able to interact with the dogs as well as other people who shared her same passions for dogs. She emphasizes how relaxing and calming the event felt. 

First-year applied health science major Elle Kinney also attended the Love on a Leash event, but came into feeling a lesser degree of stress. Although she is not experiencing a high amount of stress at the moment, she feels as if it is gradually increasing due to end-of-semester schoolwork and exams.

Kinney says that “Love On A Leash” has provided great relief for her academic stressors. 

“Seeing animals in general was a good way to let go of some stress,” Kinney said. 

Lily Smith, first-year history major, is facing a relatively moderate amount of stress because of schoolwork and exams. She is also navigating the impending registration dates for next semester.

Smith said that “Love On A Leash” was very beneficial for alleviating stress as she is deeply missing her dog from home, so being around other dogs made her feel content in the midst of the challenging circumstances. 

According to fourth-year graphic design major Faith Watanabe, she is not dealing with many stressors. However, she did mention that she has upcoming senior show projects to work through and she is navigating finishing up the semester. 

It was nice to get out of the apartment and get away from homework and come see the dogs with my roommate,” Watanabe said. 

Love on a Leash attendee Esther Harper, third-year applied health science major,  is experiencing a moderate amount of stress as a result of end-of-semester assignments and activities. For her, interacting with the dogs and the free Chick-fil-A were the most memorable moments of the event. 
It was nice to pet the dogs and just relax for a bit,” Harper said.