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Watch: Students find solace in furry friends in the lead-up to exams

Lupo the Eurasier got a lot of attention from the students
Lupo the Eurasier got a lot of attention from the students

FOR students at the University of the West of Scotland, exam season has arrived. 

It’s a time filled with anxiety, late-night revision, a huge amount of deadlines lots of cups of coffee.

Luckily for these students, the University has teamed up with charity Canine Concern to offer  ‘Paws Against Stress’ sessions, where groups can spend time with some soothing Therapets.

Ben the Pekingese
Ben the Pekingese

At Thursday’s session there were five Therapets – Nairn the Golden Retriever, Bonnie the Tibetan Terrier, Ben the Pekingese, Cassie the Jack Russell cross and Lupo the Eurasier. All of them proved very popular with the 124 students who turned up to the afternoon session.

The Therapet dogs (L-R): Nairn the Golden Retriever, Bonnie the Tibetan Terrier, Ben the Pekingese, Cassie the Jack Russell cross and Lupo the Eurasier
The Therapet dogs (L-R): Nairn the Golden Retriever, Bonnie the Tibetan Terrier, Ben the Pekingese, Cassie the Jack Russell cross and Lupo the Eurasier

Lots of students said that they missed their family pets, especially during exam leave. Many also said that they longed for a furry companion but weren’t able to keep one as they lived in flat or stayed in student accommodation. One student even took pictures of herself with a dog and sent it to her parents to try and persuade them to get a dog!

Facing her fears

For one student, Shukri Mohamud, the day was about much more than just easing her exam stress. Originally from Somalia, Shukri told us that she grew up fearing dogs, and there was never any tame dogs around her as a child. When she came to session, Shukri had never touched a dog.

After working up the courage, not only did Shukri manage to pat Nairn on the head, she also faced her fears and had Cassie sit on her lap. By the end, when asked if she was afraid of dogs, she answered: “not anymore.”

 

Lynsey Thomson, an occupational therapist and Canine Concern trustee, said that the benefits of pet therapy are manifold:

“Pet therapy can reduce stress levels and heart rate, promote social behaviour and interaction, increase emotional comfort, decrease loneliness and anxiety and greatly improve your mood.”

While the students won’t be taking their exams till after the Easter Holidays, they all left the room with a smile on their face and seemed to have taken something from the experience, even if it was just a few minutes away from the library with a cute companion.