Sonoma State students were able to let off a lot of the first month’s stress of classes and all of the other crazy stuff life has for them on Saturday, Sept. 21.
The Associated Students Productions continuously puts on events, and with help and persistence from one of Sonoma State’s Seawolf Services’ front desk staff Sharon Marshall, they put together the first Doggy Play Day of the school year.
Marshall coordinates where all the therapy dogs come from and directs them to come to SSU.
As many as 200 students attended Saturday to enjoy the company of the therapy dogs and let loose the college chaos. People were smiling, laughing and reminiscing about their lives with their dogs back at home.
Doggy Play Day came about when the idea was brought up in ASP that having a doggy play day would be an outlet for those who need to blow off steam and stress that had already been building since the start of the semester.
The purpose of Doggy Play Day is to help replace and minimize unhealthy ways to release stress and provide a new fun way to relieve stress in a healthy form.
One other reason Doggy Play Day was put together was due to the fact that many students have family pets, specifically dogs, that they had to say goodbye to when they moved to Sonoma State to pursue their higher education.
To some pet lovers this is almost unfair that the best filler to a pet they can get is a fish, where the on-campus policy states that the tank can be no bigger than a regular small room fish bowl. For those students who live off campus, they are lucky if the landlord of the premises allow any pets at all in their rental.
Students that do have family pets tend to miss them so much it is almost a sole reason why students become homesick. Students would love to have a dog of their own here on campus, but due to on-campus housing policies there are no dogs allowed in dorms unless you have an approval from Disability Services.
There were a total of 13 dogs and puppies for the first Doggy Play Day even with a little rain here and there. ASP has been working on ideas to make the event bigger, such as bringing in more dogs to help reach and relax as many students as possible.
“I like to plan these events to give students a chance to de-stress and find comfort from service animals such as these therapy dogs,” said Elena Hubbard.
ASP and Hubbard plan to have Doggy Play Days once every semester for SSU students.
Many owners of the therapy dogs voiced to the ASP staff and Marshall that Doggy Play Day was the best day by far at Sonoma State and they cannot wait until next semester to attend the event again. ASP commits itself to bringing back events that students particularly like and benefit from.
ASP had to convince Sonoma State to keep these certain types of events here on campus.
A couple months ago a memo was sent out stating that events such as Doggy Play Day were no longer allowed at the university due to too much liability; in the university’s opinion, there is too much risk in letting therapy dogs that are not owned or controlled by the university to come onto this campus.
A couple of months passed and it was overturned because of the rattle the university received. Students and faculty have helped keep this event, allowing animals to continue to be adored at SSU.