As QCC students geared up for final exams, a peak stress time, Disability Services arranged for PAWS for People to visit campus before exams began. PAWS for People is affiliated with Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and is a Community Partner of Pet Partners, Inc. The volunteer animal-handler teams are registered to visit a variety of settings such as campuses, libraries, elder-care facilities, and hospitals. This April, PAWS for a Study Break, brought registered therapy dogs, cats, and a miniature horse to campus.
This spring, due to inclement weather, the program was held inside the Fuller Student Center. Students were delighted to sit on the floor next to the dogs, petting their fur and rubbing their heads. Autumn the cat was fine with being held by different students while Gypsy, the miniature horse, was the biggest surprise for many students who exclaimed over her petite size. Many students posed for “selfies” with their new friends.
The following week, the weather was nicer, and Angel Hair Alpacas came to visit outside the Fuller Student Center. Students were very excited to pet their coats and ask questions of owners Jay Cohen and Maureen Agley who brought two adult alpacas, Acorn and Sargon, from their farm in North Grafton. Students were encouraged to touch their dense fur and feed the alpacas from their hands. Several brave students tried this and were surprised to find how soft the alpaca lips felt against their skin. The Cohen’s son Jamie attends QCC, and came by for a quick visit between classes.
Thank you to Deb Gibbs, Program Coordinator at Tufts University, for coordinating animal-handler teams for this visit. Additionally, thank you to Angel Hair Alpacas for a well-received visit to campus and educating us on the nuances of alpacas. Moreover, thank you Michael Beane, Director of Student Life and Leadership and his staff for hosting all the animals at the Fuller Student Center! Disability Services staff who contribute to this program each semester are Kristie Proctor, Director, and Terri Rodriguez, Associate Director, of Disability Services