Health Center relaxes students with pet therapy

By Sonny Tapia

The East Los Angeles College Student Health Center’s pet therapy Zoom meeting is aimed to provide students a relaxation period from the COVID-19 class conversion.

The Student Health Center will be offering students a lounge-type Zoom meeting to allow peers to talk and socialize with each other’s pets. “It’s a virtual lounge for every student to join and introduce their pets,” student worker Amber Ramirez said.

Coordinator of the Student Health Center, Cecilia Cruz said that most students will get excited and take time out of their day to admire a pet that they see in the background during one of their classes online.

Cruz wants students to come as they are and not be on a formal time frame like their regular schedules. “We will be together, but it’s not going to be a formal presentation, just something casual where students can come as they are. They don’t have to feel pressured to pay attention to content, but hopefully relax and have a few laughs,” Cruz said.

Helping students is the main goal. Cruz’s own studies and reading suggests pets are beneficial to the mental and emotional states of human beings. Everyone can socialize with their pets in view for a rest period during their classes’ hectic time frame.

This idea was started because Cruz would notice how people would liven up when they saw the presence of a pet through Zoom meetings with colleagues and other students.

“Seeing pets allows students to have a bonding moment over that. We started talking about our pets and what we do with them now,” Ramirez said.

Cruz said that even in formal meetings, when there is a pet involved, everyone will take that moment to admire that pet in some way. This event is for people to lift their spirits and have something to look forward to instead of the regularly scheduled order of the day.

“The goal is for people to feel connected and a little bit relaxed, to let people have some fun,” Cruz said.

All animals are welcome at the meeting according to Cruz and Ramirez. “I have dogs and cats, but our boss Sonia has a tarantula and one or two bearded dragons. We’re hoping she stops by to show us,” Ramirez said.

Students that do not have a pet are also welcome to join and enjoy the Zoom meeting, no matter the situation. Students also do not have to be worried about being on time, even though the meeting starts at noon, others that arrive late will still be granted access to the meeting.

Cruz has sent statements and notifications to her colleagues to spread the awareness of this event in order to gather more students. “Interacting is beneficial and I feel that even though it is virtual, we can still receive the benefits of this event,” Cruz said. Cruz would love to see as many students as possible show up to the meeting because she feels it would help others interact in times of isolation.

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