Canines called in to help Lancashire students cope with stress

LAB TECHNICIAN: Glen relaxes with Freya Evans
LAB TECHNICIAN: Glen relaxes with Freya Evans
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AND they called it puppy love....

Well, it works for the sick and elderly and has proved a useful tool for bringing comfort to distressed children, so why not call on man’s best friend to help ease the plight of stressed out students?

Demi Hartley with Kim

Demi Hartley with Kim

A chance to cuddle a puppy was top of the timetable for stressed out students battling the anxieties of end of course exams at the University of Central Lancashire.

The Preston-based university enlisted the support of the Guide Dogs charity as part of its Stressed Out Students project, by setting up a puppy room.

Over a three hour period students were able to cuddle the pups, who are in training to help people with impaired vision. The price of this unusual therapy was a donation of at least £1.50.

The pups even had their own chill-out area, with regular breaks throughout the afternoon and were with their handlers at all times, to stop them getting overwhelmed.

It was a fantastic event that went better than expected! We are hope to work again with the charity Guide Dogs in the next academic year to provide more puppy rooms around stressful periods in the academic year.

Lucy Haigh

Places were limited, but were snapped up within hours of being advertised and it is hoped it will raise enough money to name and sponsor a puppy.

The charity has previously worked with Lancaster University Students’ Union and said the sessions help to give the guide dogs in training the chance to get used to being around people, which is ideal for their development.

Siobhan Cullen, Guide Dogs community fund raiser for Lancashire said: “It’s fantastic that UCLan are fundraising for Guide Dogs. The event was a great opportunity for the students to meet our puppies and working guide dogs; helping them gain a real insight into the work we do.”

The idea originated from research in Japan by separate experiments Japan which found that people have better concentration when looking a pictures of cute things such as dogs, babies and kittens.

Lucy Haigh with boisterous Harvey

Lucy Haigh with boisterous Harvey

Lucy Haigh, the SU campaigns officer said SOS was a fortnight of activities timed to coincide with revision, exams and dissertation submission.

She added: “It was a fantastic event that went better than expected! We are hope to work again with the charity Guide Dogs in the next academic year to provide more puppy rooms around stressful periods in the academic year.

Activities, which run throughout next week, range from street golf to a barbecue and swing ball.