Cafe Fuzz allows teens to connect with therapy animals - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Cafe Fuzz allows teens to connect with therapy animals

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While most people go to the Rochester Public Library to check out books, some teens are going there to pet animals! 

Cafe Fuzz is a monthly event that brings therapy animals to the library to help teens take a break and de-stress. 

"No matter how stressful it is you can just come here and hang out and you can just pet an animal," said 17 year old, Abigail LeQuia. "It will make your day at least a little bit better."
Cafe Fuzz began about a year ago and has been making days better every since. 

"It's the end of the school year, we've got finals coming up and that was kind of how it got started, having a finals study break here at the library," said teen librarian, Sarah Joynt. "We use to offer just a space to study and snacks and coloring sheets and stuff like that but we had the animals coming for 'Sit Stay Read' and I thought well it would be fun if they can come hang out with the teens!"

Whether the animal is snoozing while getting pet, or sitting patiently during dress up, these animals are making a difference in these teens' lives. 

"It's really, really relaxing and it's really therapeutic," said LeQuia. "I can see why they're called therapy animals and why that exists. Whoever thought of that was really smart. If you're really stressed out and if you're ever struggling with something, especially if you don't have your own animal, it's a really nice resource. I think a lot of times people who aren't familiar with animals don't realize that. Even if you can't or don't want your own animal just spending some time with them can really help you with some stuff."

These therapy animals have even helped win over non-animal lovers. 

"I think it's been good for teens who maybe have a little bit of animal fear and they're not sure if this is something that they want to do," said Joynt. "I always encourage them to just come in and check it out for a minute. We've had some good experiences where kids are afraid to come and overcome that. We had some teens last year who didn't want to get within 5 feet of Timba (therapy cat) and then and within a couple of months they actually had him sitting on their laps." 

Attending these types of events isn't just beneficial for the teen, it also benefits the animals and their handlers. 

"The best part of having a therapy dog is making people smile, making people laugh and making people forget their troubles for a minute and pet a dog or a cat," said therapy dog owner, Dixie Manthei. 

Cafe Fuzz will continue through the summer (June, July, and August) but the time will be moved to 4pm, on the second Monday of the month. 

For more information on the Rochester Public Library, click here

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