UNCP students go to the pets

First Posted: 10/7/2011

PEMBROKE — “Totally adorable,” said Ashley Timmreck about the puppy she was holding during Pet Therapy Day recently at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “I think we need dorm puppies.”

Timmreck and approximately 210 students turned out to play with puppies and dogs during the first-ever event. Mark Schwarz, who works with the Counseling and Testing Center, organized the event, and the Robeson County Humane Society provided the animals.

“The students were able to connect with the animals, relieve stress and maybe some of the sadness about leaving home or leaving pets behind,” Schwarz said.

The students confirmed that leaving home for college includes a separation from pets as well as parents.

“I have four dogs at home,” Timmreck said.

Brooke Wall agreed, saying, “My puppy was just this size when we got him.”

Andrea Evans was walking a dog named Hercule.

“I have a dog and just love them,” she said. “Hercules is very energetic. I wish I could have a dog, but this is good.”

Anastasia Lanovo was holding one of the puppies.

“It would be nice to do this again,” she said. “It’s a good distraction from classes.”

Schwarze was already planning next year’s event.

“It was a huge success,” he said. “The students said they loved it, and we gave out information about our counseling services. The dogs received hours of love and attention, so it was a win-win.”

Kelly Ivory, manager of the Robeson County Humane Society, said it is a good idea for several reasons.

“When Mark called, we all thought it was a great idea,” she said. “I love to see our dogs out socializing and exercising.

“We’re also hoping to sign up some student volunteers.”

She already found at least one student volunteer in David Mason, who was playing with a three-legged dog named Faline. “I love animals,” the economics major said. “I started volunteering last weekend.”

Chancellor Kyle Carter and his wife Sarah brought their dog, Dooley, who is already well known on campus.

Several campus groups volunteered at the event, including AWARE, a student health and wellness program; SIFE, or Students in Free Enterprise; and volunteers recruited by the Office of Community and Civic Engagement.

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