Sophie Rice, 18, a pre-animation and illustration student, enjoyed the company of Coco, Amber, Tulip, and Tazzie at the Paws 4 Stress event at the AC Hub on Feb. 19.

“I love it because I have a cat back at home and I live in residence, so I don’t get to see her,” Rice said, who is from Rockland, Ont. “It feels nice to be with animals because I can’t be with mine.”

Rice rotated between each of the four St. John Ambulance therapy dogs and listened carefully to what the owners had to say about each one. “It’s like having my cat back in a way,” Rice said while giving Coco a belly rub. “I get to meet companions and destress while doing so.”

Tulip, 14, a therapy dog at Paws 4 Stress
Tulip, 14, a therapy dog at Paws 4 Stress Photo credit: Camryn Majuary

Rice was also joined by her friend Jay Hunt, 19.

Hunt sat and tried to get the attention of Tulip, a hard of hearing dog and finally scratched her ears when she came.

“This is my second Paws 4 Stress and I love it,” said Hunt, a pre-animation and illustration student. “I adore dogs, they are so sweet and gentle. It’s always nice to come and meet all the dogs.” Hunt and Rice both played with Amber, as she laid on the floor.

The friends have been to one other Paw 4 Stress event. It’s a great opportunity for them to unwind. “I love coming to these events and just being in the moment with the dogs instead of the stress of school,” Rice and Hunt both agreed.

Tazzie at Paws 4 Stress Photo credit: Camryn Majuary

The four dogs, not to be mistaken as the Dog Squad at Algonquin, have been a part of Paws 4 Stress for a couple of years now and always enjoy coming.

“Coco was so excited to come today,” said Angela Jones Young, Coco’s owner. “She saw me grab her scarf and she instantly let me put it on her and went straight to the car and waited to come.”

Amber, 12, soaking up all the attention at Paws 4 Stress
Amber, 12, soaking up all the attention at Paws 4 Stress Photo credit: Camryn Majuary