Petting Away Worry and Stress

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Many University of Minnesota Duluth students look forward to seeing the animals at PAWS every month. We invited regulars Pat, Kevin, and Makoons to find out if you can pet away worry and stress.

Pat Castellano is a retired humane educator who volunteers for PAWS. She explained how the whole program got it’s start. “There were requests for us (Animals Allies) to come to places, and we started at LSC for two years bringing animals. And then UMD said, ‘Can we do that?” We said “Sure.” Then they said, ‘We can’t have animals inside.’ And we said, ‘That’s okay.'”

So they took the event outside at UMD. Pat lead a group of 5 people and 9 dogs to campus, and ended up serving about 1,700 students. “We were exhausted.”

Pat tells us that’s how they started the monthly program. Now they have dogs, cats, mini horses, and hedgehogs for the student to enjoy.

Kevin Browne and Makoons, a Great White Pyrenees, are regular volunteers. “We’ve been doing it for about six years now at UMD. We’ve also done nursing homes, UWS, Fond du Lac, and a special needs camp. I really enjoy it, and he (Makoons) enjoys it too.”

Kevin says he can practically see the stress melt off young peoples faces. Especially since college is a time when many student miss their family pets, “We’ve had a couple of young ladies at ladies crying. They’re so emotional because they’re so happy to see the dogs.”

Pat brought even a brought a surprise hedge hog! Pat enjoys her work at the Hedgehog Welfare Society and brings the animals with to PAWS. These experts say, “Yes, you really can pet away worry and stress.”