Article Written by Lilly Marohn. Photo by Lilly Marohn

St. Cloud State students feel less homesick and less stressed after spending time with therapy animals at Healthy Huskies De-Stress with Pets. Every Tuesday, the Central Minnesota Therapy Animal Association brings therapy animals to the St. Cloud State community.

“I like getting to see the dogs,” said Olivia Barnes, St. Cloud State student. “They help me with homesickness. Mine are at home, so I miss them really bad.”

St. Cloud State student Nia Johnson said that the therapy animals help her with stress.

“I just love dogs and it’s such a unique de-stressor during the school days,” said Johnson. “With dogs like these, they’re trained to cuddle and nurture and comfort people and I feel like some people don’t get that on a daily basis so it’s nice to come here and just sit down and have fun and de-stress.”

At the end of the event, Healthy Huskies conduct a survey to see how students feel.

“Every time, we have had students say that they enjoy coming here. It lowers their stress and it makes them forget about anything else that could be stressing them out,” said Natalie Strasburg, Healthy Huskies Intern.

This week, Sue Schnider brought in Louie, a therapy dog registered with Pet Partners.

“As far as interacting with people I think he does really well,” said Schnider. “He’s pretty calm.”

Schnider said she loves the interaction with college students.

“We talk to the students and ask them about themselves. It’s kind of an outlet to talk about that,” said Schnider. “Some people are just missing their dogs because they’re away from home. There have been people we have met here from all over, not just from Minn.”

Barnes and Johnson recommend other students go to De-Stress with Pets.

“It’s a sense of community and being able to say ‘hi’ and pet them just makes you forget about everything else that goes on,” said Strasburg. “Students are usually with their friends or as a group or alone. They pet the animals and make a connection and you see they make friends with others that are here, which is kind of a nice community thing that you can do for free.”

De-Stress with Pets is open to anyone in the St. Cloud State community.

The event is located on the first floor of Eastman Hall.

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