Puppy love can be comforting to many when they are far from home, and college students know that better than anyone. On a college campus, though, it can become difficult to find an outlet for this need for some dog affection.
Luckily, downtown Alma has a number of stores with friendly and accessible dogs. Since therapy dogs only come once a month, these dogs can be a much-needed resource for a college student needing a little break from the bubble.
Among those stores are Treasures, Terry’s Cycle and State Farm Insurance, with a schnauzer, labradoodle and golden retriever, respectively.
“The cheer team made my dog, Layla, a part of their scavenger hunt at the beginning of this year, which was really cool,” said Katie Tobias of State Farm Insurance on how much students have interacted with the dogs downtown.
“Not many students have a connection to the downtown area, so this is a nice excuse to get students wandering around down here.”
Baxter, a labradoodle, is often featured on Terry’s Cycle’s Facebook page, which has lead to quite the following for the dog. Between Baxter and Treasure’s house dog Katie Scarlett, they have an expansive fan club of community and students alike.
“Katie Scarlett, at Treasures is definitely one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen, and I encourage everyone to go see her,” said Emily Henderson (‘21). “I really enjoy talking to the owner of Treasures, so I go in for more than Katie Scarlett!”
Not only can students relieve stress and get some puppy kisses, but they can also create lasting relationships with community members. “I have several students that come down for a mom hug and some puppy love, which is really nice. Katie Scarlett has grown pretty attached to some college students, and she loves them – if a group of college students came in, and there was one nonAlma student in the group, she would know,” said Dawn Hall, owner of Treasures.
“Living so far away from my own dogs while I was a student at Alma was tough, but going down to visit Nala (Katie Scarlett) always helped propel me through my week, especially during exam times and other instances of particular stress,” said Alma College alum Naria FordThompson. “The dogs in the stores downtown never failed to put a smile on my face.”
Dogs are a part of many people’s families, and being away from family (especially such a cuddly member) can be even harder during times of stress. “Students are welcome to come visit Layla,” said Katie Tobias.