A combination of arts and crafts, cookies and dogs— what many would consider an ideal night in— was hosted in one event by UK’s Student Activities Board on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the Creative Arts space beneath Holmes Hall. Aptly named “Puppies and Polaroids,” the traditional Pinterest party-style of SAB’s regular events was further enhanced by a partnership with the 4 Paws For Ability service dog organization.
A wide array of pastel stickers, wooden buttons, felt flowers and many other unique and colorful crafting and decorative supplies were available on one long table in the back of the venue. Beside this was a counter of paints and glitter glues of every color, as well as different types of brushes and canvases on which to paint. Rows of long tables were covered in brown paper so that students could get messy. Hot chocolate and cookies were available at the front of the room. The comfortable space was difficult to traverse without stepping over a paw or a wagging tail, as over a dozen 4 Paws dogs occupied the room.
One of the main draws of the event, however, was getting a Polaroid picture taken with any of the smiling hounds. SAB board members roamed with the cameras and, as sophomore psychology major Tabbi Coffman said, needed “a lot of patience.” With so much going on, Coffman said, and with dogs wriggling every which way in their joy to be around so many people, it was difficult to wait to get just the right shot.
“You just have to squat and wait,” Coffman said.
She accomplished many fun candid photos over the course of the night, and eventually every piece of available Polaroid film was filled with smiling human and canine faces.
Coffman said of the event and of other SAB activities, “It’s super fun. I wish as many people as possible could come.”
In fact, much of the crafting didn’t start until about an hour into the event. The majority of attendees’ time was spent cuddling with canines and talking with friends and 4 Paws members.
Alethia Placencia, a sophomore kinesiology major, headed the event and co-planned Puppies and Polaroids a semester in advance as an exceedingly active member of the SAB. The idea to partner with 4 Paws, she said, came from the idea “what’s more relaxing than puppies?”
“It’s a tradition to have Pinterest parties in SAB. We wanted to enrich the community and give people an opportunity to relax with each other, de-stress and have something to take home with them at the end of the night," Placencia said. “This is the first time in a long time that SAB has done something with service dogs. They’re hard to get here, and we’re always concerned with student safety.”
Lane Ryan, a sophomore agriculture economics major, attended with a rather large, furry companion. Her 4 Paws service-dog-in-training, nicknamed Chi and full name Kimchi (like ice cream), weighed 52 pounds at seven months old and somewhat resembled a grizzly bear with her long, shaggy hair, though Ryan was easily able to lift her for her numerous photo ops. Chi is Ryan’s second foster dog with the organization.
When asked how they were able to get so many dogs together at once, Ryan said, “The president posts something on Facebook. Pretty much everyone [in 4 Paws] likes to go ... to events like this. We’ve never really had to cancel a program [with the dogs].”
Chi responded well to pats and scratches, but declined to answer any questions. Her fosterer was able to speak on her behalf, and said of their enjoyment of the evening—and of similar events— “I love it. It helps her out so much. It’s really the best thing we can do for her. She loves it.”
4 Paws For Ability primarily focuses on the socialization of future service dogs, which is a primary reason they partner with events such as Puppies and Polaroids.