The Texas Tech Department of English hosted Pups and Pastries from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, on the second floor of the English building, giving students a chance to unwind with licensed therapy dogs and snacks.
“So, we do Pups and Pastries about three times a semester,” Christiana Christofides, the director of operations for the English Department, said. “We provide food, popcorn, coffee, free pastries, just to kind of give students the chance to relax and de-stress during the semester, and that’s why we started doing it.”
Her service dog, Maz, named for the "Stars Wars" character, accompanied her, she said. All the service dogs must provide their certificates and proof of vaccination before they can attend the event.
The department tries to time the events around those times in the semester students may be under the most stress. The first exams usually begin six weeks into the semester, and with exams looming, time spent playing with a pup can make a difference.
On average, the English department expects to attract 100 students in a two-hour span on average, Christofides said.
“We just want students in the building that are here taking classes to have a chance to come and get some popcorn, get some coffee and pet a dog,” Christofides said. “I know probably a lot of people miss their dogs back home.”
Separation from family and pets was exactly the reason one such freshman attended. Aubrey Hinman-Navarro is a freshman communication studies major from San Diego, California, who said she learned about the event from seeing a flyer posted on Instagram by the English Department.
“It's a total de-stress from homework, tests, all of that,” she said.
Hinman-Navarro has two dogs at home, a boxer and French bulldog. Being more than 1,000 miles from home is difficult, and she said she has missed her dogs. Since she is so far from home, the next time she will be able to see her dogs is the Thanksgiving break.
It's kind of like I have them with me,” Hinman-Navarro said. “And my dogs are my biggest stress relievers and my best friends.”
Students are not the only ones who benefit from events like this. Elaine Gentry and her service dog JoJo have been partnering with Pups and Pasties for more than two years, she said. Her dog was a rescue animal, and Gentry got acquainted with Pups and Pastries through a friend in the English department.
“I enjoy meeting all the Tech kids, they’re from all over, and talking to them,” Gentry said. “I think it helps keep me young to see what the younger generation is doing. The dog loves attention, he likes all the love and he does really well with everybody.”