Rattlers and puppies: A winning combination

FAMU students enjoyed interacting with puppies on The Quad Wednesday afternoon.
Photo submitted by Portia Akins.

Florida A&M University students experienced their first ever ReLAX with Puppies on Wednesday afternoon.

The men’s Lacrosse Club teamed up with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital’s animal therapy program on The Quad where therapy dogs were made available to help students reduce stress and relax before midterms get underway.

About 30 minutes before the event, students were already making their way to The Quad to see the talked about puppies that would be making their way soon.

From 1-3 p.m., students were able to pet and play with puppies like Brody, the 3-year-old golden retriever-lab mix.

“I’ve been really stressed out this week. With Hurricane Michael and midterms coming up. Seeing these dogs really made my day,” senior Cierra Thomas said.

Tallahassee Memorial’s animal therapy program is the only one in the Big Bend. It has been making an impact on the community since 2005.

Heather Gainey, the program coordinator, has been a part of this unique therapy effort for five years. “Animal therapy can be impactful in many different ways. Studies have shown that when you are around an animal, your blood pressure lowers and your heart rate lowers. So, we bring these dogs out to students right before midterms and hopefully they feel a little bit better and can study better,” she said.

Therapy animals can also help individuals with physical problems as well. As little as a 12-minute visit with man’s best friend can help heart and lung function by lowering pressures.

Senior Onyx Franklin said, “This week has been very hectic for me, with an extra amount of assignments to complete and midterms to take. Being able to go on The Quad and see dogs was very therapeutic, to say the least. It was just what I needed to finish this week strong.”

According to a study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, “people may need people to live a richer life, but dogs can provide many of the same perks.”

Denzell Jackson established FAMU’s Lacrosse Club in 2015. The team “strives to be a leader in lacrosse among the HBCU community.” It competes against teams such as Morehouse, Morgan State, and Howard University.