Busy first weeks on campus

So many students, so many dogs, so many hugs!
You may have noticed that this website hasn’t been updated since just before the fall semester began. That’s because there has been at least one Hugs & Pups team on UNC-CH’s campus almost every day since the dorms opened, most of them with at least one brand-new volunteer. In fact, all of those new volunteers are what’s made it possible for us to be there every day. As a result, thousands and thousands of students have played with our pups – we have SO many wonderful pictures, far too many to post, unfortunately – and many of those students have needed a hug as well. Transitioning into campus life is a challenge, and a little extra support goes a long way toward making it easier. We’ve talked to lots of students who have scheduled their whole days around coming by “Blue’s Corner” (the front corner of Wilson Library closest to the Pit) as many times as they can while we are there. We’ve heard that we helped them get through that first, really lonely week. One told me the other day that we are what got them through a particularly difficult FDOC. We’ve heard about beloved pets back home and seen pics of them too (they’re all *really* cute!!). And I can’t even count how many parents have gotten texts with pictures of our pups. It’s also not uncommon to have a student come by, wait in line if they have to until they reach the Hugger, ask for a hug, and then leave without even petting the team’s pup. There have been some tears (which is fine – those students just got extra-long hugs), but far more laughter and smiles. And we’ve gotten to know and love quite a few of the students who are “regular customers” already.

Hopefully the semester will get easier for Carolina students with a little more time. But don’t worry – we’ll be there for them either way.
Cathy Emrick

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