Honors College makes way for Puppy Day


Students play with puppies from Southern Pines Animal Shelter at the Honors House during Puppy Therapy Day held on Wednesday afternoon at the Honors House. Dr. Ellen Weinauer, Dean of the Honors College began the tradition of Puppy Therapy Day with a goal of giving students a way to relax and relieve stress. The activity also provides socialization for the puppies, better preparing them for adoption.

As thrilled as students are to rush out of class, some were ecstatic to relieve stress with puppies from Southern Pines Animal Shelter at the Honor House.
The Honors College hosted Puppy Day at the Honor House from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Students gathered in a circle on the front porch of the Honor House and embraced the puppies that were brought by the shelter.

“This is not only good for the students, but it’s good for the puppies too, because it helps socialize the puppies,” said Brittany McAllister, volunteer and events coordinator at Southern Pines. The turnout was large yesterday with people coming and going to see the puppies. The event offered students not only a stress relieving highlight of the day, but bonding opportunities to meet and greet one another.

“Playing with the puppies is amazing because it’s a big stress reliever and breaks the monotony of the day,” said senior biochemistry major Ellyn Dunbar. Southern Pines regularly visits the Southern Miss campus for other organizations like SMAC and sororities.

“It gets our word out to get people to help the puppies who need homes. One of our goals is educating our community about the needs.” – McAllister

Hattiesburg is overpopulated with homeless animals. In 2014, Southern Pines received over 5,300 homeless animals from a 14-county area, according to the shelter’s website. Dean of the Honors College Ellen Weinauer organized Puppy Day and believes students simply need an escape from academic pressures.

“All students work very hard, and Honors students who are driven in particular ways tend to have stress levels that run high and we see it a lot,” Weinauer said. “Research tells us that animal therapy is beneficial for stress management.”

The Honors College started the event last December and, due to its success, it is now scheduled to occur every month. Weather and animal availability permitting, the Honors College will be holding the event another three times this semester.

“I am a strong supporter of Southern Pines, which is an incredible organization,” Weinauer said. “This is good for the students and animals because they need  socialization, but it also encourages our students to get out to Southern Pines to support and volunteer. It helps give students, especially those with dogs, feelings of comfort, relaxation and a little bit of home.”