By Teresa Acosta
Student mental health was in focus as dogs were on campus providing a moment respite in both physical and emotional means.
Students had the chance to pet and play with the group of dogs in the E3-E7 quad on Wednesday from the Paws-to-Share organization.
The event was hosted by the East Los Angeles College’s Associated Student Union as part of the Student Health Center’s Mental Health Awareness Month schedule of activities.
For a majority of the event, the area was at capacity and there was a short line to wait to get in to see the dogs.
There were about seven dogs alongside their owners participating in the event.
After signing a waiver, students were given a green bracelet that allowed them to enter into a fenced area where they could visit with the dogs.
Among the dogs were a couple of Goldendoodles, a Rough Collie and a Husky. The four-year-old Rough Collie named Parker sat relaxed in the shade with his owner Mary Schut.
Parker has been a part of Paws-to-Share for about six months and receives a small payment for his services. He loves treats. He showed off a few tricks including the classic rollover.
Schut says the dogs have to pass a test to get into the program and they only work one or two days a week.
She said they visit senior homes, nursing homes and most levels of schools. She enjoys watching students interact with the dogs and sees the benefit of the visits when they talk lovingly about the animals in their lives.
“The kids say that they feel really special when they pet them and they feel relaxed,” Schut said.
Andrea Jacinto stopped by to see the dogs before heading to her Makeup Practicum class in the Theater Department.
“It’s a good way to remind students to take a breather and relax and to play with some dogs,” Jacinto said.
She has two dogs of her own at home, Dulce and Lola. She said dogs can help remind students of the simple things in life.
Paws-to-Share has been facilitating dog and cat visits since 2017. Their organization consists of over 300 dogs from all over Southern California.
Reduced heart stress, improved self-esteem and mental stimulation are a few of the benefits they say students may experience. They cite the physical, cognitive, social and emotional benefits to students who attend the events.
For information on future events from the Student Health Center and ASU, students can visit the center in building F5-302 or ASU in the Student Activities Office in building F5-212.