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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Bell Memorial Union is going to the dogs

Twice a month The Well hosts Take-A-Paws therapy animals to help students bring down their stress a few notches
Tommy, a 3 year old Golden Retriever, interacts with students at The Well. Taken by Toby Neal on Feb. 28.

Students looking for a break from their studies were able to get some quality time with new furry friends Wednesday afternoon. Every other Wednesday, The Well, downstairs in the Bell Memorial Union, hosts therapy dogs from Take-A-Paws.

Take-A-Paws is an organization that provides groups and individuals with trained, certified and insured therapy pets for social or therapeutic interactions where emotional, psychological or physical support is needed. 

Their bi-weekly visits to The Well make it possible for students to interact and connect with the pets. Students looking to unwind a little can join them for pets, scratches, a few treats and lots of smiles all around.

Isaac Duenas gives Tommy a few treats. Taken by Toby Neal on Feb. 28.

Tommy, a 3-year-old Golden Retriever, enthusiastically greeted students with a big “grin” and a few gentle nuzzles. He was very much interested in who was coming to visit him. His owner, Ed Seagle, said that Tommy seems to look forward to the visits. Tommy spent a bit of time interacting with each person who came to visit with him.

Seagle said he has been working with Tommy for just a couple years, but has been involved with therapy dogs for more than six. He said he enjoys being able to help people who can benefit from a visit with a therapy dog.

Jordan Hearn, Chico State student, enjoys the opportunity to interact with the dogs. 

“It’s so happy! You can’t not smile when you come in here … and I love the different ages. I think that makes it really special too,” Hearn, who commutes from Redding, said. 

She has two dogs at home, and likes to be able to come visit with the therapy dogs while on campus.

On a blanket beside Hearn and her friends, Venice, an 8-year-old Golden Retriever, eagerly played with her toys, while enjoying the pets of many hands. 

Her owner, Kristina Heller said  Venice “really likes being here with everybody” and that she is a bit of a sucker for all the attention. 

“She [Venice] seems to just find the person that may need a bit more of her attention and spend some extra time just being with them,” Heller said.

As Heller spoke, Venice’s soft, caring eyes looked up at the group, over a snout covered with the graying vintage velvet of an older dog. It is obvious that this dog has found her calling.

The Well typically hosts three to five therapy dogs and sometimes cats, depending on the pets’  owner’s availability. During the hour, there can be upwards of 50 people who spend a bit of time with the therapy animals. 

If you are interested in making some new furry friends, you can visit The Well every other Wednesday from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. The next event will be March 13. Students are asked to check in with the front desk upon arrival.

Toby Neal can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Toby Neal, Reporter
Toby Neal is a public relations major, graduating in May. This is his first semester writing for The Orion. Neal is looking forward to bringing interesting and informative stories to the publication. He likes to keep his finger on the pulse of a gamut of things, from politics, to international topics, to hitting live music shows, to finding new places to eat and much in between. See you out there.

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    Liz // Mar 4, 2024 at 4:51 pm

    Good to know! Cute dogs too 🙂