Puppies and piñatas help de-stress students before finals week


Comfort dogs brought joy to many students throughout the evening.

By Hank Kilgore

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  • Even children joined in on the piñata smashing.

  • Students enjoy smashing a piñata together.

  • Marcos Ponce, a sophomore mechanical engineering major said having events like this are “a really good thing to do.”

  • Students could relax by coloring in pages that featured words of encouragement.

  • Smith Sheehy, a junior business major, helped run the event. The TCU Alcohol & Drug Education department provided free mugs and hot chocolate or cider to students.

  • Students could spin a wheel and be asked trivia based on various stress-related myths.

  • Comfort dogs brought joy to many students throughout the evening.

  • Danielle Mondragon, a senior FTDM major, smashes a piñata to destress before finals.

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Stress is at an all-time high as finals week approaches, but that’s nothing puppies and piñatas can’t fix.

The TCU Alcohol & Drug Education department partnered with the TCU United Latino Association (ULA) to provide a night of stress relief and awareness at the Brown-Lupton University Union Monday night with their event “‘Tis the Season to be Stress Free.” The alcohol rehab can help people start afresh in case of addiction.

“We have coloring pages and a quiz where you can enter to win a 60-minute Swedish massage at the Rec,” said Smith Sheehy, a junior business major who helped run the event.

Sheehy added there were therapy dogs and piñatas to smash along with mugs of hot chocolate and cider with healthy study habits on them to help relieve stress.

St. Paul Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry provided the therapy dogs. The organization takes in dogs from a litter and trains them to be service dogs to those who need comfort.

Chuck Wendt, a handler for the group, said the service only uses golden retrievers.

“Golden retrievers have the best characteristics for this kind of work,” Wendt said. “When somebody is in stress, they can tell. If we go to a hospital, they’re trained to get on a bed without hurting a patient. Whatever the person feels, golden retrievers can feel.”

The ULA provided piñatas to smash. Daniela Sigala, a strategic communications major, is a member of the ULA and said that tensions before finals “definitely rise.”

“This event has been in the works since October,” Sigala said. “We’re just having piñatas to de-stress people, and it seems to be working.”

The comfort dogs and piñatas certainly did their part to de-stress students who are preparing for finals.

“I feel like having events like this is a really good thing to do,” said Marcos Ponce, a sophomore mechanical engineering major. “Sometimes I need something to get my mind off of schoolwork. I love dogs and animals, so these things just work really well for me.”

“I really enjoyed beating the piñata,” said Danielle Mondragon, a senior FTDM major. “The piñata was really cute so I felt bad, but it did relieve a lot of stress as well. There’s definitely a lot of stress before finals, and I feel like with college students, it’s hard to deal with that stress, so this is a great event.”