Open to students, faculty and staff.
Requests are closed for spring semester 2024.

Open to students, faculty and staff.
Volunteer trainings available in BGSU Serves.

Open to handlers and their dogs.



The BGSU PAWS Team is a dedicated group of campus and community volunteers and certified therapy dogs. The team hosts events on BGSU campuses throughout the year and is also available by request. This program is part of the Office of Health & Wellness at BGSU and offers programing to support the BGSU community in all aspects of well-being.

View our WBGU The Journal episode for an in-depth overview of the organization along with a few of our dogs and humans!  

Positive impacts of animal therapy:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness, pain and fatigue
  • Increased feelings of safety 
  • Decreased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Increased physical exercise

PAWS stands for Partners in Achieving Wellness for Students, staff and faculty. All PAWS dogs are certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Certified therapy dogs must be friendly, patient, confident, gentle and at ease in all situations.

PAWS Team Events

Sign up through BGSU Serves to volunteer and and assist with PAWS events.

  • New Event Volunteer Training (For Individuals NEW to PAWS)
    • Wednesdays: 3 - 4 PM at Jerome Library
  • Lead Volunteer Training (For Continuning PAWS Volunteers)
    • Wednesdays: 11 AM - Noon at the Student Recreation Center Conference Room
    • January 31, February 14, 21, March 20, April 4  

Imposter Syndrome
Thursday, February 8 | Noon - 1 PM | Student Recreation Center Conference Room
Imposter syndrome is common in school and in the workplace. Learn how to overcome imposter syndrome and achieve your goals in your personal and professional life.

Managing Stress
Wednesday, March 13 | Noon - 1 PM| Student Recreation Center Conference Room
Ongoing stress can lead to physical and mental health problems. Learn how to complete the stress cycle.

Boundaries & Healthy Social Support
Wednesday, March 20 | Noon - 1 PM | Student Recreation Center Conference Room
Many people struggle with developing a healthy social circle. Join this discussion on developing a healthy support system, advocate for your needs within relationships and implement boundaries.

Friday, April 5 | Noon – 1 PM | Student Recreation Center Conference Room
We often are our own worst critic. Join this discussion on theory-based practices to promote self-compassion and learn how to be your own best ally.

For More Information: Ashley Hartman:

Register Online:

Jean Kitchen and Sochi received the Classroom Hero of the Month Award from BCAN/BCSN!

Congratulations to our own, Jean and Sochi for receiving the Buckeye Community Arts Network/Buckey Cable Sports Network Classroom Hero of the Month Award for November! We are so proud to have this amazing team as part of BGSU PAWS! Thank you for all you do, Jean & Sochi. Learn more about their award on the BSCN Classroom Heroes Website.

Lex Balnton

Lex Blanton

I grew up in the dog industry apprenticing under various nationally recognized trainers and participating in AKC & UKC junior handling events since early childhood. I have been competitive in dog shows for 15 years, putting numerous show & sport titles on both my dogs and client dogs. I have been employed as a professional trainer for 9 years, working with good manners clients, service dogs, therapy dogs, detection dogs, aggression cases, and more. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge & Skills Assessed through the CCPDT, a Zoom Room Certified Master Trainer, an IAABC behavior consultant, a Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer, a certified AKC Family Dog Evaluator, an ATD Therapy Dog Tester/Observer, and an active member of the Pet Professional Guild.  

At Zoom Room, we don't train dogs, we train the people who love them! We offer AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy, Obedience, Rally, Agility, Scent Work, Urban Herding, Flyball, Therapy Dog, Tricks, and Canine Conditioning classes in Perrysburg, OH. Zoom Room dog training classes are specially designed to encourage dogs to build confidence and success as they master new behaviors in a simple, step-by-step process. Our classes have skills-based graduation requirements to keep learning at your own pace. Every class is also offered multiple times each week so you can come as many or as few times as you want each week for additional instruction and practice.

Cheryl Kubista

I am the owner and Master trainer here at Talk Dog Toledo, LLC training facility.  I have been training dogs for the last 18 years here in the Toledo, OH area.  After completing a 4-week intense training program, I opened my own training company 2005. I have completed additional training over the years to further my skills.  I work with dogs of all ages, all breeds and all types of issues.  I offer private lessons, group classes and board and train options for clients. My group classes start with puppy kindergarten and go all the way up to therapy dog and service dog skills.  I work with my clients to make sure that they can achieve their dog training goals! I am also an AKC and CGC evaluator, an Alliance of Therapy Dogs tester and observer and a field rep for Paws with a Cause. I am a professional member of the IACP as well as the APDT.

Cheryl Kubista

Meet the Therapy Dogs


Breed: Corgi
Birthdate: 01/02/2020
Family: Ellen R.
Social Media: Facebook – Griff the Corgi
Major: Bachelor of Science in Belly Rubs
Wellness Practices: I take an hour long nap every day after school.
Fun Fact: I spend my days at a school, keeping students company as they learn science.


Breed: Sheep-a-doodle
Birthdate: 7/14/2006
Family: LeeAnn L.
Social Media:
Major: Sweetness and Love
Wellness Practices: Harri has found his passion! He is going to single pawly rid his community of all the pesky squirrels.
Fun Fact: Harri will NEVER steal your sandwich! He is unbelievably suspicious of EVERY kind of food. He must be talked into most treats, let alone a real piece of meat! Maybe....MAYBE he'll take some cheese, but it usually takes a lot of prodding.


Breed: Portuguese Water Dog 
Birthdate: 9/16/2020
Family: Ron Z.
Major: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) Clinical specialty, Residency in Neurological Conditioning & Training of my handler.
Wellness Practices: Going for daily walks or runs with an occasional swim. I stick to a well-balanced diet and have 3 meals a day.
Fun Fact: My breed was originally developed in the 1930s by Dr. Bensaude in Portugal. I only respond to Portuguese commands.


Breed: Parti Yorkie
Birthdate: 04/04/2020
Family: Sue R.
Social Media: Email -
Major: Bachelor of Art in It’s a Dog Life
Wellness Practices: Although I love my treats, I limit them each day. I also do my daily exercise of chasing the ball to stay fit.
Fun Fact: My first therapy visit was at BGSU in March 2022!


Breed: Boykin Spaniel
Birthdate: 4/15/2014
Family: Jean K.
Major: Bachelor of Arts in Cuteness
Wellness Practices: I take lots of naps!
Fun Fact: I get VERY excited about chipmunks and sticks. I also know my right paw from my left paw.


Breed: Greyhound
Birthdate: 07/20/2016
Family: Kim & Emily
Social Media: Instagram –
Major: Bachelor of Arts in Relaxation with a concentration in 45mph Couch Potato
Wellness Practices: I take extra naps and do lots of doggy yoga.
Fun Fact: I am a retired racing greyhound.


Breed: Red Labrador Retriever
Birthdate: 2014
Family: Jacquelyn R.
Major: Making people happy
Wellness Practices: Napping, snacking, and taking long walks
Fun Fact: Rosie has had numerous litters of puppies!


Breed: Chihuahua Mix
Birthdate: 08/19/2013
Family: Chris & Garry W.
Social Media: None. It’s a work in progress.
Major: Pursuing his Master of Arts in Behavior
Wellness Practices: I practice meditation. I may look asleep, but I am actually deep in thought.
Fun Fact: I have a stroller decorated with Christmas lights in which I sometimes get to ride.


Breed: Husky
Birthdate: 10/05/2019
Family: AnnaBelle
Social Media: Not yet.
Major: Bachelor of Science in Business with dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.
How do you practice wellness: I eat lots of snacks and take lots of naps.
Fun Fact: I am from Alaska. Also, I got my name from the TV show Mash, not from the Marvel character.

Dash, a Welsh Terrier, sitting in the grass on a sunny day.


Breed: Welsh Terrier
Birthdate: 12/13/2014
Family: Sue S.
Major: Dashing
Wellness Practices: I like to eat, sleep, run around, greet neighbors, eat and sleep.            Fun Fact: I am a Welsh Terrier, and 20 pounds of pure energy! I’m pretty smart and very stubborn, but my mom is the top dog in our house. My real name is Czar Dashing Bandit, but everyone just calls me Dash. My favorite thing to do is run with teenage boys. 


Breed: Chocolate Lab Mix
Birthdate: 03/05/2019
Family: Joe & Bonnie F.
Major: Bachelor of Science in Playing
Wellness Practices: I go to annual visits to the vet. I eat lots of carrots and apple snacks. An apple a day keeps the vet away. And I remind my family repeatedly until I get my daily walk.
Fun Fact: I love car rides and walks. My favorite time of day is mealtime, and an hour before, I start begging for my food.

Bennington (a.k.a. Benny) George

Breed: Newfoundland
Birthdate: 01/27/2017
Family: Carol T.
Major: Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. I am also a certified reading instructor and boat captain.
Wellness Practices: I enjoy swimming, exploring for dropped food and lost toys on walks.  I also sing in a choir and I’m on the water polo team at Poco’s daycare.
Fun Fact: My initials are B.G. and I am 165lbs.

Check me out at the Wood County District Public Library helping with the PAWS Reading Program.


Breed: Australian Shepard
Birthdate: 3/18/2021
Family: Krista H.
Major: Physical Fitness and Toyology
Wellness Practices: chasing golf balls, always playing with toys and trying to get her dog sister, Mya Mae to chase her in the yard.


Breed: Labrador Retriever
Birthdate: 3/3/2018
Family: Debbie V.
Major: Social Worker with a Minor in Napping
Wellness Practices: Gordie likes to go for walks and eats a healthy diet. He loves carrots and apples!


Breed: Saint Bernard
Birthdate: 3/18/2021
Family: Sara D.
Major: Bachelor of Arts in Mindfulness
Wellness Practices: I enjoy nightly walks in the woods, snuggling my humans (especially my kids!), and enjoying the outdoors - snow, rain, or sun!!


Breed: Golden Retriever
Birthdate: 4/10/2014
Family: Carrie C.
Major: Masters in Snoozing
Wellness Practices: Lots of rest and leisurely strolls.
Fun Fact: I hate swimming and retrieving.


Breed: Labrador Retriever
Birthdate: 7/4/2017
Family: Laurie G.
Major: Children/Teen Therapist
Wellness Practices: gets plenty of sleep, exercises regularly.
Fun Fact: gets along with everyone, loves to come to work with family.


Breed: Bulldog
Birthdate: 5/21/2021
Family: Roy and Angela Y.
Major: Purveyor of Smiles
Wellness Practices: Allowing people to give him pats.

In Loving Memory

Murphy, bichon frise, served as a therapy dog for over 17 years. In addition to supporting the BGSU community, Murphy also visited libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, and many other locations in the community.
~March 2005 – October 2023

Faith, a miniature American Shepard, was an amazing dog who loved spreading joy to others. She was born March 17th, 2013. Faith served as a medical service dog for 8 years prior to becoming a therapy dog. She knew over 130 commands and could read a command on a paper and then do the command.
~March 2013-April 2022

Brady was known around campus for his love of belly rubs. Brady loved to swim and go duck hunting. Brady had 7 titles including AKC Canine Good Citizenship Advanced. He started as a therapy dog in 2015 and did nearly 1000 visits.
~03/01/2012 – 05/16/2022

Attention BGSU Students ➔ Friends of the BGSU PAWS Team is a student-led organization focused on assisting the therapy dogs and their owners who visit campus. As a PAWS volunteer you will be able to play an integral role in improving the wellness of the BGSU community through the use of therapy animals. As a volunteer you'll be able to staff events, help run our social media account and fundraise for the program.

Updated: 04/05/2024 02:49PM