On Monday, the Jasper campus of Bevill State will be hosting its inaugural “puppy break” as a way to help relax students after taking their final exams of the semester. Grant Cockrell, interim director of student services for the Jasper campus, said the program Hand in Paw operates out of Birmingham and provides trained therapy dogs to assist people in many ways.
“This is a way to try and give the students something to de-stress with. I looked into it, and it’s something that they’ve offered at Alabama, UAB [and] Montevallo,” Cockrell said. “So, I contacted them and was able to get them here.”
Students and faculty can enjoy the comfort and warmth radiating from the four-legged, furry friends this Monday between 9 and 10 a.m. located in the Harold Wade Math and Science Building. From dachshunds and collies to labradors and terriers, several different breeds will be on hand for students’ enjoyment.
Kayla Hartley, a student at Bevill State, thinks the event will be very beneficial for students.
“I think it’s a great idea because I know, me personally, I love animals. They help take away the stress, majorly, and I’ve seen that in a lot of students,” Hartley said.
Hand in Paw was founded in 1996 by Beth Franklin and has aided area hospitals, nursing homes, schools and rehabilitation facilities with its services. It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that serves surrounding counties in Central Alabama. Its mission, according to its website www.handinpaw.org, is “to improve the health and well-being of children and adults by serving those with physical, emotional, educational or psychological needs through interactions with professionally-trained Animal-Assisted Therapy Teams.”
Cockrell said based on the response BSCC receives from its students will let him know if it may turn into an annual or semi-annual event.
“I think it’s just a good way to help them calm down before a test, kind of get their minds off of being so focused and concerned about their grade. [It will] give them a little moment to relax and focus on something different,” Cockrell said. “We have some that, literally, have test anxiety. They get special accommodations for test anxiety, so it’s just some way to help them and give them a little break from having to be so concerned.”