Meet the dogs that hugged our stress away

Anna Nolan/Staff

On May 6 and 7, the therapy dogs from Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation visited our campus again as part of the semesterly “Pet Hug” event. Here are some of the adorable dogs that hung out in front of Moffitt Library and helped us momentarily forget the stress of finals.


1. Sadie

Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Age: 1

Favorite things: Rib rubs, belly scratches and jumping and dancing for toys and treats

As seen by her pink collar and demure posture, Sadie is a perfect little lady. She also loves giving kisses. Every time a student picked her up, Sadie would cover the student’s face with sweet, adoring kisses. She also loves to hug people around their necks as she kisses them.


2. Oso

Breed: Bernese Mountain Dog

Age: 4

Favorite things: Picking up large sticks, wading in the water and eating fruits and vegetables

Oso — Spanish for “bear” — is a huge dog with a huge personality. Every now and then, he would startle students around him by giving out a hearty, deep-throated bark. Though he may seem big and scary at first, Oso is really a gentle giant. He wears a  traditional Swedish dog collar.


3. Gracie

Breed: Wheaten Terrier

Age: 5

Favorite things: Walking and getting pets and treats

Gracie has one of the softest coats imaginable. Students couldn’t help cooing over her soft fur as they petted her. Her fur does have a tendency to get in the way, however.
“I need to cut your bangs,” said her owner, as she brushed them out of Gracie’s eyes.


4. Rosa

Breed: Labrador-Retriever mix

Age: 11

Favorite things: Frosty Paws (doggie ice cream), squirrels, walks and car rides

Though Rosa is 11, she has a lot of energy. Every morning, she wakes up promptly at 7 a.m., eager to get the day started. As demonstrated by this picture, Rosa responds very well to petting. Unlike some of the younger dogs, Rosa doesn’t shy away from large crowds of students. She obediently stands very still as they pet her.


5. Cara

Breed: Spaniel mix

Age: 5

Favorite things: Fetching tennis balls, getting tummy rubs and going to the pet store

Cara is more timid than the other dogs, and she is very camera shy. As a matter of fact, she is absolutely terrified of cameras. Every time a student tried to take a picture of her, she would hide behind her owner’s legs. We did manage to sneak this lovely picture of her — before she noticed what we were doing and shrank away in fear.


6. Portia

Breed: Spaniel mix

Age: 5

Favorite things: Chasing squirrels, riding in the car and running up and down hills

As her name suggests, Portia is a very chic and sophisticated lady. The long hair on her ears resembles a luxurious hairdo. “Never a bad hair day,” a passerby remarked at the sight Portia’s beautiful tresses. “And she’s so clean, you can eat food right off of her back,” her owner said.


7. Little Dude

Breed: Chihuahua mix

Age: 2

Favorite things: Playing dead, jumping on people (or dogs) he likes and being carried

The smallest and feistiest of all the therapy dogs, Little Dude stole the spotlight. He showed us his flair for the dramatic by playing dead. “Little Dude, stick ’em up!” his owner said, pointing her finger at him as if it were a gun. Little Dude stood up, and when his owner yelled, “Bang!” he rolled over and pretended to be dead. The crowd applauded Little Dude’s performance.


8. Bocchi

We didn’t have much time to get to know Bocchi, but we could tell he was a very special dog. Exhausted from a hard day’s work of hugging, Bocchi had retreated to the shade and was drinking water. Although he seemed a little restless and tired, he still allowed students to hug and pet him before he retired for the day.

Contact Lilia Vega at [email protected].