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Therapy dogs make a paw-some impact with students at ‘Cuddle a Canine’

On Thursday, April 18, therapy dogs from the Southwest Canine Corps of Volunteers visited the University of New Mexico to help students decompress before finals week.

The event encouraged UNM community members to take time out of their days to hang out with each dog and speak with their volunteers, event coordinator Lucia Pierce wrote.

“This event really encourages a lot of conversation and so many people leave with a smile on their face. The canine volunteers really seem to enjoy their interactions too,” Pierce wrote.

“Cuddle a Canine” has been taking place at UNM for over a decade, Pierce said.

“During this time, our college has cultivated a wonderful and longstanding relationship with the volunteers and their dogs. I think this event provides an opportunity for students to relax and engage with volunteer dogs,” Pierce wrote.

Many of the volunteers at the event have been part of a team returning to UNM each semester, Pierce said.

“We try to schedule these events to coincide with the busier times of the semester, when students might be experiencing higher levels of stress and could use a little relief,” Pierce wrote.

Visiting pups included Eliza, a 9-year-old Golden Retriever, Brea, an 8-year-old German Shepherd and Knuckles Malone, a 5-year-old Greyhound.

Eliza, Knuckles Malone and their owners are returning volunteers for the “Cuddle a Canine” event.

Other features of the event were Riley, a 6-year-old Poodle-Border Collie mix, Koda, a Husky-Corgi mix and a puppy named His Royal Highness Harry Duke of Sussex.

The dogs appeared just as excited as the students, performing tricks and cuddling with their visitors.

“The Southwest Canine Corps of Volunteers has always been very willing and enthusiastic in their accommodation of our requests to visit. They are always heavily scheduled, and I appreciate that our event is considered,” Pierce wrote.

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Maria Fernandez is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at

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