In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Pets for Vets on Campus is holding its second annual Smooch-a-Pooch event on Thursday. The event’s purpose is to raise awareness for the group’s mission and give Ohio State students a little love from local service dogs.
Smooch-a-Pooch is a fundraiser put on by Pets for Vets on Campus and the OSU chapter of 4 Paws for Ability. Students will be able to stop by the Great Hall Art Gallery in the Ohio Union to pet rescued service dogs and, for a donation, take pictures with the puppies.
Pets for Vets on Campus was founded in fall of 2014, and this is the second year it is holding the Smooch-a-Pooch event. The organization focuses on pairing military veterans with rescued shelter animals. President and founder of Pets for Vets on Campus, Becca Makii, said companion animals benefit veterans in many different ways.
“One of (Pets for Vets’) goals is to pair up veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, anxiety and depression with a rescued shelter dog,” said Makii, a fourth-year in pharmaceutical sciences.
Makii also said she hopes Smooch-a-Pooch will continue to raise awareness for veterans and the benefits of having companion animals.
“If you just pet this dog for five minutes, you feel instantly better,” Makii said. “Just imagine what that could do for someone that has had emotional disorders or mental disorders.”
This is the first year Pets for Vets on Campus has partnered with 4 Paws for Ability, an organization that trains service dogs. Smooch-a-Pooch 2016 will allow 4 Paws for Ability to give students first-hand interaction with service animals, while Pets for Vets on Campus will be able to show students how interaction with animals can be a healing process for veterans.
“For the event this year, we’re also focusing on 4 Paws for Ability,” Makii said. “They focus on (training) service dogs for disabled children and veterans.”
4 Paws for Ability has only been on campus since autumn 2015, and while its mission differs from that of Pets for Vets on Campus, it plans to raise awareness for its cause through the Smooch-a-Pooch event.