Integrative Medicine Club partners with Purple PAWS to host puppy yoga for students

(Graphic by Catherine Eldridge | Collegian Media Group)

The Kansas State Integrative Medicine Club will host a puppy yoga fundraiser at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday at the Peters Recreation Complex to spread awareness about integrative health and support the Purple Power Animal Welfare Society (Purple PAWS). Students must pay a $10 admission fee or $5 if they are in the veterinary school. 

Kayla Majors, president of the Integrative Medicine Club, said integrative medicine combines traditional Chinese healing methods and modern medical practices. 

“A lot of us are wanting for our pets, and even for ourselves, more than just a ‘fix-it’ pill,” Majors, graduate in veterinary medicine, said. “Integrative medicine gives you those options. It evaluates your person as a whole. It doesn’t just evaluate the one function that may be the issue at hand. … As it becomes more prominent in veterinary medicine, that’s how we want to look at it.”

Majors said the puppy yoga event will provide an opportunity for students to relieve stress, using yoga as an example of integrative medicine. 

“We’re in the middle of the semester, so we’re all kind of freaking out about midterms,” Majors said. “Veterinarians are one of the highest suicide rates, and so we want to teach our students while they’re still students how to take care of their mental health before they go out into the world of practice.”

Kaitlyn Desmond, secretary of the Integrative Medicine Club, said puppy yoga will also allow students to learn about integrative health in veterinary medicine. 

“As an age group our minds are super open and moldable,” Desmond, graduate in veterinary medicine, said. “The more people we can get to to tell them about this, the more proactive they might be to say, ‘Hey, vet, is this an option for my pet?’”

Kylie Acebedo, fundraising chair of the Integrative Medicine Club, said the event is accessible for all K-State students.

“It’s just for fun, not competitive, not super serious,” Acebedo, graduate in veterinary medicine, said. “We just want to be outside raising awareness for Purple PAWS and hopefully bring some more awareness to integrative medicine also.”

Majors said the Integrative Medicine Club partnered with Purple PAWS to bring adoptable dogs to puppy yoga.

“I think we mainly wanted to use adoptable pets because they’re constantly in need of good homes,” Majors said. “I might be biased in this opinion but I think college students sometimes make the most loving homes.”

Susan Clasen, director of Purple PAWS, said the organization is a foster and volunteer-based rescue serving the Manhattan area.

“Our mission initially, and it’s grown a lot, was to help out animals and rescue them before they go to shelters and be that in-between,” Clasen said. “We find them homes, find them refuge, bedding, care. … We take in dogs from people. We also pull dogs from shelters — kill shelters usually — when they’re on the euth list. Death-row dogs.”

Clasen said she hopes puppy yoga will “get the word out” about Purple PAWS and how it helps the community.

“People will see our dogs,” Clasen said. “Also, we can gather volunteers from this, people who know our mission and like what we do. A lot of students volunteer with us, and they’ve always been very, very helpful. That’s huge.”

Majors said the Integrative Medicine Club will hold a donation drive at puppy yoga to gather supplies for Purple PAWS. 

“We’re going to have a fall basket we’ll pull a name from and [people] can win a prize if they donate to Purple PAWS’ wishlist,” Majors said. “It doesn’t have to be a $60 bag of dog food. It could be a $2 toy, or a bed or pee pads.”

To reserve a spot at puppy yoga, visit the K-State rec services website.