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The Eastern Echo Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Dog and owner

Bunnies and dogs at EMU available for students who need a mental health break

The Happiness Hop and Wellness Woof events at Eastern Michigan University are available throughout the fall semester.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase of students struggled with their mental health. However, therapy animal sessions and mind break days may help some people.

The Happiness Hop is once a month at Eastern Michigan University, the first session on Nov. 10, and the next on Dec. 7. The Happiness Hop will be held in room 315 at the EMU Student Center. The Wellness Woof is hosted every other week, the next being on Nov. 16, from 4-6 p.m. at the Student Center ballroom. 

EMU holds these wellness events with dogs and bunnies, Nicholas Pomante, the main group leader for the wellness of students at EMU, said. The dogs are donated by a veterinary center and the bunnies are donated the days they are needed by EMU Professor, Dr. Amy Shell-Gellasch, he said.

Pomante believes the animal sessions they hold every month can create a safe space to communicate with peers and let go of stress.

“Students that may not know each other or come from different backgrounds, come to this event and have a shared experience with each other to bond over the animal itself,” Pomante said. 

Activities for participants are also available at these events.

“I always have adult coloring books there and board games,“ Pomante said. “So it offers the time and space for students to sit and meditate and communicate with people they may have not met before.”

To find out more about events such as these, happening virtually or in-person, look on the “What’s Happening” tab on the EMU Engage app, or check the EMU calendar at All events will be posted on there as they are updated.