Twice a semester, a group of caring canines (and their humans) come to campus as part of the Paws Program—a mental-health-focused event for students.
Bright Spot Therapy Dogs, a popular local organization that has served the Pioneer Valley since 2004, teamed up with the UMass Peer Health Education program in 2014 to see if bringing trained therapy dogs to campus would help students cope with the stress of studying for midterms and finals. The answer was a resounding yes.
Last April, over 900 students stopped by the Campus Center or the W. E. B. Du Bois Library to get in a quick pet session before braving the rest of their hectic schedules. Gabby Esposito ’25PhD says, “Seeing those sweet pups made all of my anxieties disappear for a short moment.” The third-year doctoral candidate adds, “It was a fabulous way to start my day!”
Pictured here is Raven Jang ’23, an exchange student from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, petting therapy pup Sophie.