Furry friends arrive on BVH

BVH holds a dog therapy session to recognize mental health
During lunch, sophomores Ella Roberts, Mackenzie Koeppen, Charissa Dela Cruz, Sydney Asman and Maya Delgado pet one of the five therapy dogs, Floyd. On April 11, the Bring Change to Mind club held a Love On a Leash session, which many students were greeted by therapy dogs in room 408.
During lunch, sophomores Ella Roberts, Mackenzie Koeppen, Charissa Dela Cruz, Sydney Asman and Maya Delgado pet one of the five therapy dogs, Floyd. On April 11, the Bring Change to Mind club held a Love On a Leash session, which many students were greeted by therapy dogs in room 408.
Cielo Muniz Sigala

On April 11, BVH’s Bring Change to Mind club hosted a dog therapy session with Love on a Leash, a non-profit organization that offers opportunities for anyone to engage in meaningful and productive pet therapy. In the session, five dogs were introduced by their owners—Apollo, Floyd, Kaia, Vida and Nova—giving students the opportunity to interact with them during lunch. 

Bring Change to Mind club President and junior Morgan Murphy reached out to Love on a Leash, hoping to introduce something new for BVH students and to create a safe space on campus. Murphy explains the importance of having mental health outlets that allow students to be able to “let their guards down” to feel more comfortable. 

“I hope to bring up the conversation of mental illness and destigmatize it. You are not gonna be looked negatively upon for talking about your mental health struggles,” Murphy said. “I think a lot of us internalize our mental illness struggles and it makes us feel down. There are safe places where you can go to talk about it, and it’s not a bad thing if you are struggling with it.”

In multiple instances, Murphy has observed therapy dogs assisting students during stressful environments. Moreover, Bring Change to Mind club advisor Adrienne Marriott expresses the impact that opportunities like these have to offer for students.

“There’s plenty of research that shows that petting an animal lowers your heart rate, [and] cortisol levels. We all kind of know how we feel when we pet an animal, you de-stress. There were also a couple of students who were a little bit fearful of dogs. I [even] saw one of them overcome that [fear],” Marriott said.

Marriott further explains the importance for people to get exposed to new and different experiences on a daily basis. Sophomore Ella Roberts expresses her experience while spending time with the therapy dogs.

“The dogs being at BVH made me calm and made me forget all my worries and stress. They bring an overall positive energy to the school when lots of people are stressing over things like tests and grades. It’s important for them to remember that it’s okay and the dogs remind them of that,” Roberts said.

Love on a Leash volunteer Angela Fardo signed up and participated in the session by bringing Floyd, her golden retriever. Fardo explains why it is beneficial for students to have access to opportunities such as therapy dogs in high-stress environments as an outlet to relieve or express themselves.

“There is so much negative feedback, particularly with the internet, where we need to correct that. [We need to] create more substantial face-to-face interactions, particularly after the [COVID-19] pandemic. I think it’s important that we create and foster that [because] it creates a better community,” Fardo said.

Fardo believes that people, especially students, may feel more expressive and open when talking  rather than with people. This event being successful, Murphy and Marriott hope to host more sessions with more dogs in the future.

“The main purpose of bringing therapy dogs in is because when you’re around therapy dogs, it releases a lot of serotonin and those happy chemicals, which is really good for mental health,” Murphy said.

Through this event, Murphy has further observed how dogs have helped students in stressful situations. She hopes to host more events like these during stressful times for students, such as testing periods. For Fardo, she participated in this event hoping to give back to the community.

“I’ve done a lot of different things and worn a lot of different hats, but as far as being a volunteer, it’s immediate [happiness] and immediate change. All day I’ll hear people say, ‘This is the best day ever,’ or ‘This just made my day,’ and to me, it’s the little things that become the big things,” Fardo said.

Throughout the numerous times Fardo has volunteered with Floyd, she continues to hear the same positive responses from everyone. She constantly sees the improvement that meeting dogs like Floyd does for people. Fardo expresses how during her time volunteering, it has changed her perspective and value of time.

“[We] do a lot of work with people in hospice [and] sometimes acute care facilities, and we lose patients sometimes. It’s a life lesson in that, [it’s] not always the most scary thing. There’s beauty there and light [in volunteering] and you can bring that to people there,” Fardo said.

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About the Contributors
Madison Knudson
Madison Knudson, Arts & Culture Editor
I am a junior at Bonita Vista High and this is my third year being a part of the Crusader staff. I am currently the Arts and Cultures Editor this year but was previously a Features Editor. I joined newspaper because I wanted an academic extracurricular in school and newspaper sparked my interest with the many different positions it offered. This year I am looking forward to working on my page editing skills and taking photos of the many important events that happen on campus. Outside of the Crusader, I am involved in clubs at BVH such as Key Club and STEM club. Go check out my Instagram! @madicrusader

Cielo Muniz Sigala
Cielo Muniz Sigala, News Editor
I am a sophomore and am currently the News Editor for the student-run newspaper publication, the Crusader and previously worked as an Opinion Editor. I initially joined journalism due to an outside influence, but as I began to experience the classroom environment, I soon grew to love it. Throughout last year, I loved working and meeting new people within the community that made class more exciting. Journalism also developed my passion in being able to inform the community about crucial events that take place and affect everyone. Newspaper also has an impact on my growth as a person, allowing me to enhance my creative and leadership skills. Outside of the Crusader, I participate in Mock Trial, Engineering Club and MECHA Club.  Follow me on Instagram: @cielo.muniz.sigala

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