Puppies and Pizza Relieve Mounting Pressure

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By: Victoria E. Calvillo

Is there anything better than loving on some cute dogs, especially with the stress of midterms right around the corner? Puppies & Pizza was held on Oct. 2, and ran from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event was sponsored by Student Success Coaches and Counseling Services. There were seven therapy dogs that visited SLU, accompanied by their handlers.

Students converged on the SAB Green to chow down on some pizza and cuddle cute puppies. Tensions have been high lately, with students and staff recovering from Irma and extra work loads due to so many missed days.

“I feel like the dog therapy event is good for students especially during this time in the semester because a lot of people have anxiety and this can help release some of their midterm anxiety,” commented Abbigail Bodden, a Liberal Arts major.

For some students, like Psychology major Amber Smith, the event generated a deeper impact.

“The puppies are really cute. I think it’s great for students to come and release stress. For me, my puppy died earlier this year, so this really brings back fond memories,” said Smith.

The handlers were very welcoming to everyone that passed through the event, allowing their dogs to be loved on by students and faculty. Every therapy dog got their well-deserved pets and compliments, and were graciously excited for each visitor.

Therapy dog, Lou, was dressed to impress. He modeled a green and white business tie, showing off his professionalism. Mary Eversmann, Lou’s handler said, “He’s a therapy dog, which means he is here to make other people happy.”

Lou enjoys his job, and gets to visit many places. He goes to nursing homes, schools, and libraries. However, SLU is one of his favorite places to visit.

“The neat thing about coming here is that he can be himself and everybody that comes up to him wants to see him. Everyone is gentle with him, and are comfortable approaching. They also don’t get upset if he gets too excited,” said Eversmann.

One handler, however; not only wanted to help put smiles of people’s faces with her therapy dog, but also currently advocates for a larger cause.

Gus is a two-year-old American-Pitbull-Terrier mix, and has a strong Pitbull exterior. His handler, Tracey Sanderson, wants to show people that Pitbulls should not be feared, but embraced just like any other breed.

“Well, Pitbulls have a completely bad reputation. It honestly is a lot about how you raise them. We’ve been out there trying to portray them in a different light. This is so people can see what great dogs these guys are,” Sanderson explained, chuckling as Gus chewed on a student’s notebook.

Sanderson is showing people that Pitbulls can do everything any other breed can do; allowing Gus to exert his loving nature through therapy. Sanderson is very passionate about her and Gus’ work stating, “I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution.”

The event overall was a success, and was a brilliant way to allow students to unwind during a stressful part in the school semester. Many students and faculty were able to not only pet gorgeous dogs while eating free pizza, but also have wonderful conversations with their handlers. Pizza and puppies are the perfect combination during any situation.

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