Pet therapy offers students home comforts

A dog welfare charity is helping students reduce stress levels during exam time.

Canine Concern Scotland Trust is offering therapy sessions in student halls of residence with a variety of breeds.

Among those taking part are a Miniature Poodle called Tigger, a Lhasa Apso called Mersey and two Cocker Spaniels, siblings called Maddie and Morgan. 

The sessions have been organised by the University’s department of Accommodation, Catering and Events.

Therapy pets

The approved therapy pets, dubbed ‘Therapets’, already visit hospitals and nursing homes to help relax and revive residents.

The dogs are all family pets, and are accompanied by their owners for the therapy sessions. The ticketed event offers each student a 15 minute slot.

Sessions have been held at Chancellor’s Court in Pollock Halls, Shrubhill on Leith Walk and Sciennes.

Popular initiative

 We have been delighted to extend the scheme to the students’ homes where those needing a break from the pressures of studying are able to relax and de-stress. Many of our residents have pets at home so this is a great opportunity for that void to be filled temporarily. It’s always one of our most anticipated events.

Cheryl HuttonSenior Residence Life Co-ordinator

The initiative was introduced by Student Counselling Service, Canine Concern Scotland Trust and Edinburgh University Students' Association in 2013.

The sessions were first held in University accommodation two years ago and multiple events are run twice a year during exam periods.

Research has also demonstrated that the mere act of stroking a dog or a cat has exceptional benefits. These include slowing down heart rate, reducing blood pressure, calming nerves, regulating breathing and elevating mood. Plus, dogs love attention – so their welfare is increased through taking part.

Jenny LeederAssistant Director, Student Counselling Service

Animal assisted therapy in Universities started in the US and Canada.

Canine Concern Scotland in Edinburgh has more than 40 dogs signed up to the Therapets scheme.

Taking the Therapets out to the University is very popular with our handlers and the dogs. We enjoy creating a bright and light atmosphere for students. It is particularly lovely to meet and work with international students if they are far away from their pets.

Douglas RuthvenCanine Concern Scotland Trust

Related links

Accommodation, Catering and Events

Student counselling

EUSA – Edinburgh University Students Association

Canine Concern Scotland Trust

Homepage image: Copyright Neil Hanna