Paws for thought: Stress-busting dogs to help students
Stress-busting dogs are being recruited to help Edinburgh students manage the pressure of their workloads.
The furry hugging sessions will be held at Napier University this week as part of a stress-busting exercise to help students struggling with their exams.
More than 2700 students received visits from the Edinburgh based charity Canine Concern Scotland Trust, last year, as part of their Therapets 'Paws against Stress' programme.
"It's a pleasant, cheerful event but there is a serious side to it," explains Douglas Ruthven, a trustee of the charity.
"Often these students are far from home and under stress for their exams."
The idea to bring pets into universities to help out students first blossomed in 2013, when the charity was approached to try out the sessions which had already proven popular in America.
Since its pilot at Edinburgh University, the pet project has mushroomed to cover universities across the country, including Glasgow, Stirling and Aberdeen.
"Students come individually or in groups and we have a mix of dog breeds who take part, including chocolate Labradors, Miniature Schnauzers and even a large Newfoundland," said Douglas.
"These dogs are all registered as Therapets and all carry out routine visits to care homes and hospitals, from the frail and elderly to sick children.
"The dogs get lots of attention and treats so they just love it."
Each session involves a dog and their volunteer handler with a number of chairs spread around a room - though as Douglas comments, students usually end up rolling around the floor with the dogs than on the chairs.
"Students have told us that they come out feeling more relaxed so it really has taken off. We've already had 14 sessions booked out since February and we could never have believed when we started this that it would do so well," said Douglas proudly.
"I think the success is partly because dogs respond to your moods and are quite non-judgmental.
"They just give you unconditional love and care, no questions asked."
This was taken from the STV Web site and was written and compiled By Laura Piper on Tuesday 24 March 2015