Sundance Partners with a Local Organization to Provide Some TLC
Last year Sundance Film Festival officials surprised staff with a couple hours of puppy therapy. It was a huge success says Sundance Utah Advisory Board Member Katie Eldridge, so they had to do it again. Only this time, they wanted more time, more puppies and to include the volunteers.
“It’s a win/win for everybody," Eldridge said. "The Sundance volunteers and staff, they’ve been working long hours. It’s a long festival and this is just a little bit of fun and a great stress reliever.”
While the event is a gift for the humans, Eldridge said they’re hoping the puppies get more out of it – like a new home.
Nuzzles & Co Executive Director Kathleen Toth , who brought five black, 12-week old puppies said, it’s not the puppies that are short on energy.
“So far we’ve worn out the humans and not the puppies," Toth said. "You know, I think that they are just so happy to get a day that they can run around and play. And they’ve been on the couches and in peoples arms and they’re being cuddled. What I’ve noticed is it comes in waves for the puppies and they have no problem finding someone who wants to step outside of the circle and just sort of rock them and they’ll take a little nap.”
Toth said studies show that puppy therapy can, not only reduce your blood pressure, but reduce your risk of a heart attack by 40 percent.
“A recent study was just released about not only humans, but dogs, release a hormone oxytocin," Toth said. "When you’re cuddling and sharing into each other eyes. That sense of love and wellbeing is as real for them as it is for you.”
Sundance merchandising assistant from Chicago, Matthew Cochrane said, the therapy took him back to when he got his first puppy.
“To be here with these puppies kind of remind me of what dogs can do to make your day just that much better," Cochrane said. "I know we put in a lot of work and everything but like, just to not have to think about the world around us is kind of nice.”
Sundance Assistant Toby Brooks counted the reasons why he showed up for the event.
“One – I adore dogs but two, I sprained my ankle earlier this morning so I was feeling like I needed some puppy love," Brooks said. "And these are just absolutely adorable, fluffy little puppies. I would like puppy therapy every morning and every night.”
Nuzzles & Co rescues animals from both the Ute and Navajo reservations and Toth said there are a lot of puppies that need homes.
“So we brought them here today and they’re having a blast," Toth said. "And they’re lab slash cattle dog mixes. All these res dogs get to be 30 or 40 pounds but the great thing about them, especially for our community is they love to be outside – they’re active – so they make great little camping pals, trails buddies and they love people and are really adaptable and smart.”
Eldridge said the event was such a hit that they’ll definitely have puppy therapy for their staff and volunteers next year.