Faculty and staff take a ‘paws’ to enjoy therapy dogs

Feb. 22, 2024
A golden retriever with a neck scarf that reads “Pet Partners” licks the face of a smiling young woman as she pets it.

Karis Kellner, director of clinical education in the College of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Program, gets a gentle kiss from Cooper, a golden retriever therapy dog, during the Take a PAWS in Your Day event in the Health Sciences Innovation Building.

The Health Sciences Innovation Building got a little gentler recently when UArizona Life & Work Connections and Pet Partners of Southern Arizona sponsored a Take a PAWS in Your Day event in the Forum. During the two-hour event, seven therapy dogs hung out in the space to provide a friendly face and cuddles to faculty and staff. 

“Take a PAWS was developed as part of Life & Work Connection’s strategic plan to expand how employees think about their mental health through experiences across campus,” said Laqwanda Roberts-Buckley, a mental health and wellness specialist with LWC. “We hear about things like therapy, but sitting with a pup who's happy to see you can be just as impactful for someone. Overall, we want to remind people that there are multiple ways to pour into their mental health even when they are at work.”

More than 135 people stopped by to pet, talk to and cuddle the furry therapists during the event, which was hosted by the Office of the Senior Vice President of Health Sciences.

“These events would not take place without our department hosts who work with us to bring therapy dogs to campus,” said Roberts-Buckley. “It is their commitment to the wellness of the UArizona Health Sciences community that make it possible for events like this to take place.”

The next PAWS in Your Day event will be March 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Likins Hall.