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Puppy Palooza helps relieve stress

Many students have a ‘ruff’ time during finals week, but Puppy Palooza hopes to change that.
Puppy Palooza is hosted by the Gulf Coast Humane Society, Campus Recreation and Prevention and Wellness to provide stress relief to students before finals week. Events such as Puppy Palooza happen at universities across the country, but it came to Florida Gulf Coast University for the first time last spring.
The puppies are provided by the Gulf Coast Humane Society where they are all available for adoption. Students cannot adopt a dog at the event, but they can get more information after they cuddle and play with a furry friend.
Priya Thomas, director of Prevention and Wellness at FGCU, explained how the stress relief from playing with puppies is triggered by emotional connections, similar to the connections people make with other humans.
“We know that having a real significant human connection with someone helps reduce someone’s stress, and it’s the same with animals,” Thomas said. “Taking the time to connect with another being and receiving that kind of love and affection is a very positive thing whether that’s from a human or an animal. With animals, they’re cute and furry, so that’s a bonus on top of everything.”
Students such as Matthew Benck felt the effects of playing with the dogs.
“It was nice to see actual animals when you’ve been trapped up in dorms this long,” Benck said. “I came from a farm. I have five acres with a lot of animals running around, so seeing little dogs running around gives me a sense of home and really helps me out.”
Puppy Palooza was on Dec. 1 and 2 and will likely return next semester. Students interested in adopting a puppy or other animal were encouraged at the event to visit the Gulf Coast Humane Society.

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