Playing with Puppies- The Ultimate Cure for Midterm Blues

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10:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings are prime sleeping hours for college students. But if the pampered treatment of the cats that live in the New is any indication, it’s not surprising that Purchase students jumped out of their beds at the chance to play with dogs and puppies at a local animal shelter.
 
The 16 students arrived at the Armonk, N.Y. shelter, Adopt-A-Dog, which houses both dogs and cats. Kristen Alouisa, a volunteer, and Macy, a 14-year-old beagle who has become the mascot, greeted them.
 

“Do you think [Emily] Balcom will let me have one in my apartment?” joked Evan Davis, a creative writing junior, referring to the director of residence life as a puppy scrambled on to his lap.
 
It wasn’t all games of tug-of-war and fetch, however. The students spent part of the morning putting tarp up over a fenced-in structure for 10 rescued dogs that will be arriving from a puppy mill. 
 
“Puppy mill dogs are very feral at first,” said Alouisa. They have to be quarantined before they can be placed with the other dogs. One dog currently being quarantined is Hazel, the mother of six pit-bull puppies.
 
“This lady called us on Saturday and said her son had left her with the mother and 11 puppies and she didn't know what to do,”Alouisa recounted. Five were adopted within the week, and more people came to see the 4-months-old puppies on Sunday.
 
The puppies were the stars of the day. They jumped over each other, crawling on the students, and nipping the occasional scarf and shoelace.
 
“What I like about here is you're helping out but it's not too much,” said Jasmine Miller, the senior biology major that helped organize the event. “Plus you get to play with puppies”
 
Adopt-A-Dog started when healthy dogs were being euthanized in overcrowded shelters. Since then, it has only grown and relies solely on volunteers and donations.
 
Alouisa said, ”We constantly need people.” She added, “The more people the better. There are always projects that need to be done.”
 
Over 80 students responded to the Facebook page for the event that was only able to accommodate 16. Students expressed interest in having more frequent trips to the shelter.
 
With schools like Yale having ‘therapy dogs’ available during midterms, interacting with animals is a proven stress reliever, plus there’s the benefit of doing something good through volunteer work.
 
“You guys were awesome,” said Alouisa. Students were welcome to fresh chocolate chip cookies baked by the volunteers. She added, “You’re totally welcome back.”
 
The shelter is a quick fifteen minutes from Purchase, and the Beeline bus that stops at Purchase goes to Armonk, so students can easily get there themselves. Volunteers are welcome everyday to help walk the dogs and play with the cats.
 
Junior Laura Augustin said it best, as she picked up a puppy, "Put up the tarp, eat some cookies, play with puppies all day - no problem.”

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About The Author

Gabriele is a sophomore journalism major. She attends SUNY Purchase College after transferring from SUNY Albany.