Universities are starting to use dogs to de-stress their students around exam time. Therapy dogs are now popping up in university nursing areas around the UK to try to battle the ongoing mental health issues which are slowly rising.
With the rates of student suicides growing, many universities are looking for ways to help students stay calm, especially during the dreaded exam period. Some people disagree with the idea, but Middlesex University has brought in two captivating canines to tackle the issue.
“We do drop in sessions and on Mondays we do walk arounds through lectures” Josh, dog carer and nurse, introduces us to Maisie and Ice. The two Labradors are dressed in red sashes and name tags depicting their status within the university.
“We care about not just the students but the dogs as well, we’re always sure to not put them in an unsafe environment.”
Labradors tend to be the chosen dog for therapy, however they also welcomed a boxer, but after an unfortunate incident where Josh’s bag was used as a toilet, he was sent home for bad behaviour.
“The dogs have to be assessed before they can be seen by students.” When they’re not comforting a student, Maisie and Ice can be found with their owners who work at the university. Ice living out the winter of his life after successful years as a guide dog.
It’s not only for comfort, many come to overcome a fear. Through regular visits with the two dogs, both 8 years old, Josh confirmed many students had overcome their fear of dogs.
“Sometimes they’re not stressed out, we get a lot of students who are just homesick and miss their pets”. The canine duo give them the love that many crave when they’re away from home. Homesickness is one of the leading reasons of depression within students, a study by Huffpost.
Nevertheless, Josh thinks it has benefited the students very well. “I think everyone should do it. It’s such an easy thing to achieve, you’ve just got to find the right dog.”
There is only one problem with dogs in university. Hair Everywhere.