Students gathered in circles in the neon-lit room, either sprawled out on bean bag chairs or couches, with the two therapy dogs in the middle.
RuffRuff Reboot, a pet therapy event from Pete’s Pet Posse, was held Monday in the Reboot Center at the OSU Student Union.
OSU’s Pet Therapy Program Pete’s Pet Posse has been active on campus helping to improve students physical and emotional health since 2013.
The therapy dogs in action Monday were Hera and Lucy. For one hour, these dogs were available for those who needed to stop by.
Senior food science major Rachel Olivieri said she is a regular at RuffRuff Reboot events and others like it stopping by whenever she can because it helps her get away from the stress of her classes.
“I just love petting the cute dogs and loving on them,” Olivieri said. “I’ve been coming all four years I’ve been here and I love seeing the dogs. It’s helped me just keep going.”
Pet therapy has been shown to have a list of benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pets can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness. PetMD has found that pets not only improve the health of owners, but strengthens their relationships as well.
Through joint efforts between the President’s Office, OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital, University Counselling, Human Resources and the Employee Assistance Program, students who do not have access to pets at home can have these same benefits in their workplace.
A group of OSU students created a group volunteering program called the Ruff Riders in 2016. According to Pete’s Pete Posse members, the Ruff Riders are an active member of the family.
Samuel Bailey, a sophomore electrical engineering major and a member of the Ruff Riders, worked at the event Monday and said he enjoys how the program has helped him make new friends, helps students and lets him pet dogs.
“I recently became a Ruff Rider two months ago,” Bailey said. “I help hand out cards, help get water for the dogs and tell people about the program. It’s a good time too getting to meet new people and then seeing the same faces every week and getting to know them. This is all a really good stress reliever; classes are very stressful.”
Freshman Amber Main helped volunteer at the event Monday. Main said she found out about Pete’s Pet Posse from their social media page soon after her arrival on campus and immediately got involved by volunteering once a week.
“It’s very nice for the students,” Main said. “For some people leaving their pet is harder than leaving their parents, so it’s very nice that they can have dogs to play with.”
Pete’s Pet Posse is active on Facebook and Twitter under the username @Pets4Pete. The accounts are updated frequently with pictures of the therapy dogs and event details.
More events later in the week and in the future will be posted on Pete’s Pet Posse social media pages.