Celebrating students and our “Paws and Relax” wellness event

Students petting a labradoodle

Last week, Woodruff Library held a special wellness event called “Paws & Relax: A Therapy Pets Study Break.” This was the first time that we had organized this type of event since the pandemic, and it also coincided with a very tumultuous time on campus. Working with library administration and the Operations and Access team, the Instruction and Engagement team decided to proceed with the event and give students on the Atlanta campus a chance to de-stress with a furry friend.

A golden retriever offers her paws to a kneeling student.All in all, Paws & Relax was a tremendous success! Through the promotional work of the Campus and Community Relations team, postings on Instagram, and by word-of-mouth, we brought 357 students to the library, two-thirds of whom showed up as walk-in appointments. We had 12 therapy dog owners affiliated with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and one therapy cat owner affiliated with Love on a Leash bring their pets to Woodruff and share the joy with many excited and relieved students.

We got so many great comments, too! Students said things like, “this was exactly what I needed,” “my stress has evaporated,” and “please do this every year!” Needless to say, I think this event came at exactly the right time.

Two students sitting on the floor, and a schnauzer in a lap.I would like to thank all of the staff volunteers who made Paws & Relax possible, and also give a big shout-out to our Emory Libraries Student Ambassadors for their incredible efforts. From checking in students to refilling water bowls, all of the work you did was fundamental to the event’s success.

Lastly, I would like to thank Chris Pollette, who worked for months to confirm our therapy pets and helped manage all of the many moving parts that this type of event entails. It’s because of him that everything came together as it did!

—Russ Peterson, head of Instruction and Engagement, Emory Libraries