UNC students had the opportunity to eat doughnuts and pet three therapy puppies on the steps of Carroll Hall on Tuesday.
"Dogs and Donuts" was the second event in a series called "Pets on the Steps," hosted by the Hussman School of Journalism and Media's Park Library and the school's Committee on Access, Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity.
Livis Freeman, an associate professor in the Hussman School and member of the ABIDE committee, and Stephanie Brown, director of the Park Library, led the planning of the event.
Senior public relations major Kate Regan said her professor told her about the event, and she decided to arrive early for her 2 p.m. class in Carroll to stop by and pet the dogs.
“I love dogs,” she said. “I actually have a paper due on Sunday, so this is a good break. I was working on it all morning.”
Rachel Huss, a master's student in the Hussman School, proposed the idea of a pet therapy event to Freeman last month. She wanted to help address community mental health in light of recent events on campus, she said. She brought her own dog, Oliver, to the first "Pets on the Steps" event in October.
“Sometimes it's just really good for your productivity, your creativity, to take a moment to get some fresh air, to see a dog, to have that interaction before you go back to do work, because it gives your mind a little break,” Huss said.
Brown said she has coordinated therapy dog events for students even before "Pets on the Steps."
Over the past decade, with the exception of last year because of the pandemic, she's organized for pets to visit the Park Library during final exams.
“I have a friend who has trained therapy cats," Brown said. "So, one of the things I’m going to do this afternoon is reach out to her and see about doing 'Cats and Coffee' during exams, maybe in a classroom."
Brown hopes “Pets on the Steps” will be a recurring event.
The ABIDE committee also hopes to offer other therapy-related activities, such as yoga and music-related relaxation sessions.
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