Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS)

PAWS@Mac provides safe and friendly spaces for students, staff, and faculty to interact and de-stress with certified therapy dogs

Where Do They Work?

Follow their adventures on the PawsatMac Instagram and/or the PawsatMac Facebook page to find out where the dogs are!

Schedule for Fall 2020

PAWS@Mac has yet to determine what safest plan is for services in COVID era


Contact Information

To invite Kevin to your event, class, or to learn more about Macalester’s therapy dog program, please email our Student Coordinator Brooke Offenhauser at .

Student Coordinator

Brooke Offenhauser ’21, the PAWS@Mac student coordinator, is a Neuroscience and Psychology double major on the Pre-Med track who is from Cottage Grove, MN. As a part of her job at Health Promotion, she meets and works closely with Steph and the other handlers to schedule and plan PAWS@Mac events. She coordinates communication and outreach, helps manage the PAWS social media, and manages daily operations.

Email Brooke at  if you have any questions about the dogs or the program.


About the Dogs

Kevin is Dr. Steph’s 7-year-old golden retriever. He lives with Steph, her husband Ryan, and their two kids Elliot and Sydney. He is much loved by their whole family and has been brightening their lives since 2011.




Koski is a 7 year old vizsla (AKA Hungarian Yellow Pointer) who is a family member of Denise Ward, Assoc. Dean for Student Services and director of the Hamre Center for Health & Wellness at Macalester. He lives with Denise and her husband, Jon, and his “cousins” – Ila and Betty (a vizsla and a tibetan mastiff – daughter’s dogs).





Will was born on May 11, 2017. His full name is Sir William, he is also known as Wild Will by Cheryl and people who know him well. He has been enrolled in classes most of his life and is currently enrolled in an ongoing Novice class at Bloomington Obedience Training Club. He has his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and his Novice Trick Title from the American Kennel Club.



In 2009, at about 1 year old, Leo found himself in a shelter after being picked up as a stray. Leo’s last foster person and adopter, Andi Wulff from Special Events, helped him find some self-control and manners through training in obedience and herding. Leo has earned Intermediate titles on both sheep and ducks in herding and is semi-retired from the sport.






Skye is a six year old British Creme Golden Retriever.  She is very mild mannered most of the time, but gets crazy when she sees squirrels and rabbits.  Cheryl and her other dogs have taught Skye so much, including obedience and therapy training.  She loves to be around other dogs.  She became certified this past summer and is currently visiting senior citizens.

Retired Dogs

Finnegan was almost 14 when he died from a fast-moving cancer. He was active until the very end of his life when a tumor started bleeding, and it was in a spot that couldn’t be removed. Cheryl had him since 2006 when he was surrendered to a rescue because he was a wild child. He was a wild boy, but he was also incredibly sweet.



Murray was born on March 11, 2014. Cheryl knew he was a natural therapy dog, as he loved people and always wanted to be pet. He became a therapy dog on his first birthday. Shortly before his second birthday he started limping, and despite thousands of dollars of vetting, nobody could figure things out. Early in 2018 he became seriously ill and was diagnosed with cancer. He died shortly before his fourth birthday.



When Ann adopted Bubba the Shar-Pei in 2012, the only thing she knew was his name and the year he was born- 2010. Shelter workers called a Pei rescue in the Twin Cities, and they called Ann to foster him. Within 24 hours Ann knew Bubba was a great dog and started the process of adoption.

About Therapy Training

Many local training facilities offer therapy dog classes and certification. Most are 6-12 weeks plus a test at the end, and most have pre-requisites of obedience classes series and/or passing the Canine Good Citizen test.

The Animal Humane Society and Canine Coach are two places that offer classes for dogs, but you and your pet can chart your own path as well.

Kevin completed his puppy kindergarten, Obedience 1 and 2 classes at The Canine Coach, and then became eligible to participate in their course for aspiring therapy dogs.He passed his Therapy Dog International certification exam in 2012 and has been working ever since.  Other owners have used North Star Therapy Animals or Pet Partners to certify.

If you are interested in joining PAWS@Mac or have questions on the process of becoming a therapy pet, please contact