By Toby Hyde
A pet therapy session giving students the opportunity to relax with guide dogs has returned to Sheffield.
With exam season looming, hundreds of animal-lovers spent their afternoon cuddling the working dogs to take a break from the strains of revision.
The event, held at the University of Sheffield students’ union, was not only used to relax students during the exam period, but aimed to raise money and awareness for the Guide Dogs charity.
The session is co-organised by the counselling service at the university, and offered students a chance to de-stress with animal assisted therapy.
The Guide Dogs charity hold the annual event in a bid to raise money to help fund the training of guide dogs throughout the country.
For a donation of £2, students were able to spend 10 minutes with the young puppies.
Guide dog owners were invited into the union to teach students about the work and training guide their dogs must undertake.
Nichola Bonsall, a volunteer at Guide Dogs, stressed the importance of the event, and highlighted the need for both donations and education on how guide dogs are trained.
Research published in Japan suggests that images of puppies, kittens and other animals can help to improve concentration and performance levels, and it certainly impressed Sheffield’s students.
Second year Geography student, Ben Stocker, said “It’s been great to keep my mind off of exams. I’d definitely go again.”
The average working life of a guide dog is five to six years, and with almost 5000 guide dog owners in the UK, Ms Bonsall says donations are vital in ensuring that the dogs are bred and trained to meet the demand.
For more information, visit Guide Dogs’ website.