With the fall semester well under way at the University of Central Florida, students are back in the swing of homework, exams and the stress that can come with school.

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, they had the opportunity to take a break from their studies and spend some time relaxing with friendly rescue dogs.

Pet Rescue by Judy, a local no-kill animal shelter, brought the pups to UCF for students to “rent” to not just bring joy to students, but to the dogs, too.

“It’s really good for the animals because it gets them out of the kennels and lets them socialize. They return to the shelter and sleep really well, and the students enjoy it because it gives them a break from classes and from some of their stress,” said Judy Sarullo, the shelter’s executive director.

Nearly 50 UCF students volunteer with Pet Rescue by Judy each semester, including Sarah Hudak, a psychology major and student in the Burnett Honors College. The partnership between the rescue and Honors Educational Reach Out, or HERO, a civic engagement initiative at the honors college, brings dogs to UCF once a month.

“It’s a really rewarding experience to get these dogs socialized and really see how it makes a difference for them, and we’re raising money for their cause,” said Hudak, who started the animal rights branch of HERO. “It’s also a great way for students to take a break and enjoy the fresh air while loving on some puppies. Seeing the puppies smile is the best part of my day.”

The next Rent-A-Pup event will be Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the Burnett Honors College. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are asked to donate what they can.

For more information about Pet Rescue by Judy, visit http://www.petrescuebyjudy.com/. To learn more about HERO, go to https://honors.ucf.edu/.