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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Destress with caffeine and canines at Coffee and a Cuddle

    Savannah Douglas
    Members Stephanie Ho, Mike Vicidomini, Jason Kiesel, Rachel Heob and Lyndsey Edmonds of the Alpha Kappa Psi co-ed business fraternity play with Marlie, an adopted dog, on the UA Mall on Dec. 8, 2013. Coffee and a Cuddle is intended to help students alleviate end-of-the-semester stress.

    ‘Twas the week before finals, and all through the UA, not a Wildcat was stressing but instead waiting for Tuesday; For there will be on the UA Mall, coffee poured in cups, in hopes that students will come and cuddle some pups.

    It’s that time of the semester again. The Humane Society of Southern Arizona will be on the Mall on Tuesday, Dec. 8, for the only good thing about finals week: Coffee and a Cuddle.

    By donating $5, students can enjoy caffeine and canines. To pull off events like this one, the HSSA has a lot of volunteers at its service.

    “We have nearly 1,600 volunteers right now total, which is pretty amazing when you think about it,” said Aaron Fisher, volunteer manager at HSSA.

    Many of the estimated 1,600 volunteers for the humane society are students.

    “Between foster and general volunteers, we also have had a number of student groups that have come through and done volunteer events,” Fisher said.

    HSSA will explain ways more students can get involved during Coffee and a Cuddle so students can be reassured that the cuddling opportunities doesn’t have to end on the mall.

    “We are always welcome to and looking for more [volunteers],” Fisher said.

    The business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi created Coffee and a Cuddle with HSSA in 2012 as a philanthropic event.

    Gina Hansen, pet VIP coordinator for HSSA, helped in the startup of the first Coffee and a Cuddle.

    Pet VIP Therapy is HSSA’s certified therapy program. Therapy-certified dogs, along with puppies, will be on the UA Mall to help lower end-of-semester anxiety.

    “We are here to promote the human and animal bond and help people in our community,” Hansen said.

    Therapy dogs can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels and increase oxytocin levels.

    “It’s a really good program for college students because of their high stress, depression and anxiety levels and being away from home,” Hansen said.

    Hansen said the goal for the UA’s involvement with the Pet VIP program is to have dogs present among the mental health counselors so students can access pet therapy more often and easily.

    HSSA will also be selling some college-friendly items on Tuesday.

    “We will have shot glasses, aluminum water bottles, bandanas and some cool, last-minute Christmas gifts,” said Steff Hunter, HSSA events lead.

    The coffee will be provided by the the Associated Students of the University of Arizona program VolunteerUA.

    “This is a great opportunity for them to get donations and to have students know about the organization and the great work they do,” said Nawaf Alghamdi, VolunteerUA animal welfare commissioner.

    Student volunteers will assist and help out with Coffee and a Cuddle on Tuesday.

    “Our main goal is to benefit the organization, but at the same time, since it’s almost finals week, I think [being] surrounded by puppies that is a great, great opportunity to forget about school for just a few minutes and enjoy the company of those awesome dogs and the love they will give to us as students,” Alghamdi said.

    Coffee and a Cuddle will take place on the Mall, Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students can post photos of cuddling with the puppies using #uacuddle. For additional information you can join the Facebook event page.

    Follow Victoria Teplitz on Twitter.

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