“Furry Friends” returns to spread canine love to SCHS

Last Thursday, after a long, busy week of school, freshmen Audrey Mabanta walked into the Student Body Office and found a gathering of dogs. There were big retrievers, tiny puppies, and they were all wagging their tails, excited to meet new people.

History teacher Christine Byerley works with Furry Friends, an organization that brings therapy animals to any place that requests their presence. Byerly first thought to bring the organization to SCHS last year after noticing that there were “a lot of stressed out kids” on campus.

Interaction with animals lowers stress levels, according to Byerley. Mabanta agreed, saying she felt “super calm” as she petted a 5-pound pomeranian named Catalyst.

Junior Isra Karampurwala also loves coming to Furry Friends to pet the dogs. “This is my second time coming and I always love that there are many different kinds of dogs,” Karampurwala said.

This month, five dogs came to spread joy at SCHS. Catalyst, the pomeranian, was the smallest of the lot, though what she lacked in weight she made up for in fur. A black labrador retriever named Kelton was a hard-core food-lover, according to his owner, Joanna Wishner. Stretch, a corgi mix, was the smartest of his owner’s previous three dogs. Pete, the chihuahua mix, was exceptional because of his brindle fur, a rare color for chihuahuas, and Byerley’s dog, Lexi, was one of the most playful pooches there.

Stretch’s owner volunteers for Furry Friends because she believes this organization benefits everybody — the dogs, the students and herself — and is “a good thing that we can do together.” Stretch enjoys the hour of massaging and the opportunity to show off the many tricks he has learned, she said.

Furry Friends comes to SCHS every third Thursday of the month from 2:15 to 3:15 and, according to Byerley, is a wonderful opportunity for all students to “get a little bit of dog love.”