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The Scarlet & Black

Therapy dogs deliver a dose of paw-sitivity

From+left%3A+Professional+German+Shepherds+June+and+Odin+attracted+their+own+crowd+of+canine+connoisseurs.
Brisa Zielina
From left: Professional German Shepherds June and Odin attracted their own crowd of canine connoisseurs.

The Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC) atrium is a campus hub typically populated by students chipping away at their schoolwork or grabbing a pick-me-up at the Global Café. On Monday, Nov. 20, two furry guests visited the space, stealing attention and providing a respite from the intensity of college life.

June and Odin, young German shepherds trained as therapy dogs, were on campus as part of an outreach event by Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) to de-stress and bring joy to the student body. Therapy dogs have been making appearances in the atrium from 4-5 p.m. every other Monday since Sept. 25.

Students gathered around the dogs, petting them and playing with the toy that June had brought along with her, a small stuffed penguin outfitted in a striped scarf and Santa hat. Competition for the attention of the puppies was friendly but real — students could be overheard asking for their turn at an interaction, to which Aadi Miglani `24 replied, “Sharing is not caring!”

Accompanying the shepherds was their owner, Kimberly Cameron, a trainer with Des-Moines based company Dog Training Elite. She originally started her career with June, who she intended to train as a service dog for her autistic son.

June’s winning smile keeps her hounded by fans. (Brisa Zielina)
Odin was treated to countless tips for his hard work of being cute. (Brisa Zielina)

Cameron said that June and Odin also make trips to hospitals, memory care facilities and public libraries. She is currently preparing to bring the dogs to work at the Drake Community Library here in Grinnell. “We just kind of go where the need is needed,” said Cameron.

Anne Wilber `27, who heard about the event from a poster outside the College Dining Hall, said that it was her second time visiting the dogs after taking an exam. “I really miss my dog from home,” said Wilber. “The stress relief that my own dog brings me is kind of replaced by this, in a way. We don’t have that much access to cute, fuzzy creatures here.”

Dog Training Elite’s last stop in Grinnell will take place from 4-5 p.m on Dec. 4 in the HSSC atrium.

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About the Contributors
Charlotte Krone, Opinions Editor
Charlotte Krone `25 is a Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies and unofficial Spanish major from Los Angeles, CA. Among her favorite hobbies are breaking out into spontaneous song in shared living spaces, reading for queer themes in Taylor Swift lyrics, and talking about her feelings.
Brisa Zielina, Staff Photographer
Brisa Zielina is a first year and an aspiring Theater major with a concentration in American Studies from Los Angeles, California. She loves singing and acting and uses the word “slay” way too often. When she’s not slaying the day, she’s probably in rehearsal or studying on the third floor of the HSSC. If you see her around campus, say howdy, she’s always happy to make new friends!
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