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CSULB students enjoy the perks of puppies

ASI employs dogs to draw students to vote in elections.

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CSULB students enjoy the perks of puppies

Certified therapy dog, JJ, an American Staffordshire Terrier, is a  certified therapy dog  who helps people overcome stressors in their lives. The dog posed with students at ASI's

Certified therapy dog, JJ, an American Staffordshire Terrier, is a certified therapy dog who helps people overcome stressors in their lives. The dog posed with students at ASI's "Puppy Therapy" event for pictures and offered a friendly smile for the camera.

Kat Schuster

Certified therapy dog, JJ, an American Staffordshire Terrier, is a certified therapy dog who helps people overcome stressors in their lives. The dog posed with students at ASI's "Puppy Therapy" event for pictures and offered a friendly smile for the camera.

Kat Schuster

Kat Schuster

Certified therapy dog, JJ, an American Staffordshire Terrier, is a certified therapy dog who helps people overcome stressors in their lives. The dog posed with students at ASI's "Puppy Therapy" event for pictures and offered a friendly smile for the camera.

Lauren Martinez, Staff Writer

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Those who have felt plagued by the impending doom of midterms were able to seek refuge in the comfort of cold noses and wagging tails at an event put on by Associated Students Inc. Tuesday.  

ASI collaborated with Beach Balance to host “Puppy Therapy,” an event designed to reduce stress by letting students spend a few minutes with puppies and therapy dogs while encouraging voter turnout for the ongoing ASI elections.

The event was held in the main gym inside The Student Recreation and Wellness center. A line of over a hundred students spilled out into the hallway of the rec center, leading up to a small fenced-in area containing different breeds of puppies.

Students were stopped on the way inside and asked if they voted for student government candidates. Government Elections Officer, La Keisha Jeanmarie explained that a vote wasn’t required to enter but was recommended.

“We don’t turn [students] away. But we do encourage that they step away to vote,” Jeanmarie said. “You can vote really easily through your phone and most students have a phone, so they can step away and vote really fast. Platforms are on the ballot, so they can just read the platforms, learn a little more about the candidate and then vote that way.”

After voting, students were asked to show their confirmation email to the ASI officers facilitating the event, before being gifted a fidget cube and getting in line to pet the pups.

“They didn’t require me to vote to get in [but] to get one of the fidget things, I had to vote,” said Feeras Sako, a junior majoring in history. “That is what enticed me. I knew I was going to be bored in line.”

Sako said that he hadn’t known about any of the candidates prior to reading about them on his phone while waiting in line to enter the main gym to visit with the puppies.

Junior psychology major Sarah Grannis  stood outside the glass of the gym, admiring a tan pit bull in a bright blue sweater inside.

“People might just be doing it to pet the dogs, not because they actually know who to vote for,” Grannis said. “I don’t know who I would vote for, so I would have to pick somebody randomly.”

Other students among the ever-growing crowd said they had cast their vote long before hearing about the incentive of “puppy therapy.”

“I did [know about the elections] but I didn’t know there was puppy therapy until today,” said Danielle Price, a business management junior. “I saw [it] on Beachboard.”

Price explained that petting the pups was a good destressor during midterms.

“I think puppy therapy is a good motivator for anything,” Price said. “Everyone’s stressed out over midterms. People cry in class. It gets really bad and puppies seem to be a universally enjoyable thing.”

Lisa Nguyen, Beach Balance Lead and co-facilitator of the event, explained that creating an environment that promotes positive mental health was what she had envisioned when she began organizing “puppy therapy” last November. She commented on an event held the previous week that also featured some of the therapy dogs.

“It was kind of surprising because people came and joined the rec for the very first time,” Nguyen said. “People signed up just to see the dogs.”

While some of the puppies were brought in purely based on cuteness, older dogs that were certified therapy dogs were also there to provide professional comfort. The handler of a four-year-old Shiba Inu from Carson passed out business cards displaying the dog’s affiliation with “Pets Unstressing Passengers,” a program that helps travelers stay relaxed when at Los Angeles International Airport.

Nataly Nuila, computer science senior, was one of the many students who expressed their excitement for the experience.  

“I’m pretty excited. I think it’s pretty awesome that Cal State Long Beach does such out-of-the-box things like this,” Nuila said. “I would never expect to come to school to touch a puppy and it kind of gave me something to hope for at the end of my day…and it was a dreadfully long day.”

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