“Puppy Love” Event Addresses Relationship Questions on Campus 

Mythbusters: Dismantling Stereotypes of Eating Disorders Campaign Poster. Photo Courtesy of the PLNU Wellness Center.

On Monday, Feb. 12, Point Loma Nazarene University’s Wellness Center hosted its “Puppy Love” event in the Activities and Recreation Center at 5 p.m. The event poster described that there would be “healthy relationships” and “therapy dogs” present.

The event began with four Wellness Center leaders walking students through a presentation touching on topics of consent, setting boundaries, red flags in relationships and attachment styles. Once the presentation concluded, they held an anonymous Q&A session with the panel leaders where students submitted questions to a QR link. 

Afterward, they brought out three therapy dogs for students to visit with, who sported heart-patterned bandanas and fluffy pink skirts to fit the Valentine’s Day theme. The Point interviewed the event organizer, Wellness Center Health Promotion Specialist Kaitlin Sorgea, as well as a few of the students who participated in the event. 

Kaitlin Sorgea, Event Organizer: 

TP: When you organized the event, what goals were you hoping to achieve? 

KS: This event was a result of a conversation between myself and two of our mental health counselors at the Wellness Counseling Center, who get relationship questions from their clients all the time. We wanted to bring the conversation about healthy relationships outside the counseling office and to a broader audience, as this topic applies to everyone. Our goal was to create space for students to de-stress with therapy dogs, the ultimate example of unconditional love and learn a thing or two about healthy relationships in the meantime. I also wanted to give students an opportunity to meet our counselors and Title IX coordinator, as they are amazing people and a valuable resource on campus. Seeking support from counseling and/or Title IX can be understandably daunting, but I want students to know that within those offices are real people who care about them. 

TP: Why do you think it is important for students to be educated on relationships and dating?

KS: The topic of relationships, romantic or not, becomes especially prevalent in college and remains important for the rest of our lives. Students are in a phase of their lives where their relationships with their families may be changing, they’re making new friends, friendships at home may be changing and the world of dating just got a whole lot bigger. Relationships can be challenging to navigate, and sometimes, it can be hard to identify if your relationships are healthy. We want to equip our students to recognize red-flag behaviors and ultimately lean into the relationships that are going to bring out the best in them. 

Juliet Vaquero, first-year communication major: 

TP: What were some of your main takeaways from the event? 

JV: The speakers’ responses and tips for healthy relationships, both romantic and platonic, actually helped a lot. I’ve been implementing boundaries easier due to it. Being firm with your limitations is important, but they include that you don’t owe anyone a reason for your boundaries. Also, you should communicate them clearly and with precision. 

TP: How has your viewpoint of relationships changed after attending?

JV: The event has helped me consider how to stay independent while in a romantic relationship. Especially while doing long-distance, they discussed how we should understand having those separate lives and not feel jealous. 

Mel Wilson, first-year child development and kinesiology double major:

TP: What were some of your main takeaways from the event? 

MW: Being new to college is a little scary and hearing them talk about making and maintaining relationships with peers, family, long-distance friends and even on how to love yourself and how to set boundaries was so rich in intentionality. It was just a very safe space to talk and listen in.

TP: How has your viewpoint of relationships changed after attending? 
MW: It changed my viewpoint of relationships by giving me the confidence to say no and set boundaries while also maintaining relationships with the people who are close to me.