Students Get Dog Therapy For Exam Stress

Students taking their exams at University of Winchester this week are being offered time out to relax - by cuddling a dog.

Students are being offered a special room on campus on Wednesday 15th May to relax and unwind during the exam period by spending some time having a cuddle with Tess, a seven-year-old rescue Labrador.

For this special student welfare initiative the University has teamed up with the charity Pets as Therapy.

Lisa Coles, Chief Executive of Pets as Therapy, said:

“We are delighted that Tess is going to be helping the students in this way.

"The sessions are being carefully planned and overseen by her PAT volunteer owner so that they provide the correct environment for Tess’ welfare needs and so that the students gain optimum benefit from them.”

Harry Stow, Winchester Student Union President added:

“I thought this was a great way for students to take time out during their exams, and we’ve had a great response from students interested in dropping by for a cuddle with Tess.”

Research shows that interaction with dogs reduces stress and promotes happiness by decreasing cortisol levels and increasing endorphins.

Professor Neil Marriott, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Winchester added:

“Examination time can be very stressful and this initiative has already received positive feedback from students who have found that just five minutes in the company of a friendly canine can reduce their anxiety levels. University staff are making use of the facility too.”

Pets as Therapy is a national charity founded in 1983 that provides therapeutic visits to a variety of venues including hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, and special needs schools. The visits are performed by charity volunteers with their own friendly, temperament-tested dogs and cats.