Pets and Peaches
A Report by Brianna Jackson, '16
Second only to Mountain Day, Pet-a-Pet Day at Helen Hills Hills Chapel is known to Smithies as one of the most exciting days of the year. Speculations about what dog breeds will be in attendance and which delicious snacks will be provided enter into every conversation, and the anticipation of this momentous day creates high expectations. This year, these expectations were far exceeded with the Pets and Peaches event sponsored by the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.
Tangy fruit smoothies and peaches ripe with sugary juice in hand, the students meandered around petting each of the friendly dogs. Teddy, a curly dachshund, was very sweet but a little shy being around so many people. His owner lifted him up in her arms and a student noted how calm he looked being held. “That’s why we named him Teddy – he’s just like a teddy bear!” his owner remarked. Students reminisced about their dogs at home, and the dogs at Pets and Peaches brought them the much needed comfort only a dog can bring. Dogs and humans alike relaxed in each other’s company, and any lingering stress from the long school day melted away.
In addition to cultivating new canine friendships, students were able to meet members of the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. Those who were curious about other religions or wanted to find outlets to meet others of their own religion on campus posed questions to Dean Walters and other members of the staff. While learning more about the many functions of the Center, the students made important connections that could be helpful to them in the future. Event organizers also raffled off fun prizes to students. Many students entered their names into the drawing, and a few lucky ones walked away with downtown Northampton gift cards.
Full from scrumptious snacks and fluffy dogs, the students who attended Pets and Peaches left empowered to embrace their own religious traditions on campus and to learn about those of others. While they came for the pets, students stayed for the new friends they made and the inclusive community found within the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.