Students at the University of Westminster have been enjoying some stress free downtime, thanks to two therapy dogs who turned up to help ease exam pressures.
Java and Noodle are trained therapy dogs with the TheraPaws program and alongside approximately 50 other dogs often visit care homes, day centres and hospitals. These remarkable dogs specialise in helping older people with dementia by reducing stress and social isolation, while often unlocking memories and emotions.
Their visit to the University was timed to help students cope with the stress of exam time with Viju Patel, Head of Counselling at the University of Westminster saying, "It has been proven that stroking a dog has a calming effect on people and helps to lower stress levels and blood pressure. That’s why we thought it would be a great idea to introduce this amazing initiative to some of our students taking exams at the moment."
Sara Taha, a student from the University of Westminster met Noodle (pictured together below).
She told K9 Magazine afterwards, "I was very stressed at the beginning of the day, but the fact that we got to meet the TheraPaws dogs, pet them and play with them, made me smile and relax. The dogs were really friendly and one of them even sat on my lap for a while, which was comforting and stress relieving!"
Anna Dolidze, a student at Westminster Business School said, "To me, dogs always come with this immense joy and positivity and The Mayhew Animal Home’s TheraPaws visit at Westminster Business School was a great example of that. Java and Noodle brought sunshine and banished the dark clouds of exam stress away."
She continued, "It was wonderful to offer some affection to the beautiful and calm dogs, but also socialise with other students, sharing our love for animals, and get inspired by listening to the owners’ stories of how they got their pets!"
TheraPaws Volunteers Helen with Java, Deborah with Noodle and Project Manager Luke Berman
More visits are planned and we bet with each visit Java and Noodle's fan base will grow.