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WATCH - Pawsitive vibes for stressed students at dog therapy session

PUBLISHED: 11:46 06 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:38 06 May 2019

Therapy dog Jess specialises in helping people relax Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Therapy dog Jess specialises in helping people relax Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

CHARLOTTE BOND

Students at the University of Suffolk have been chilling out with some fluffy friends to combat stress ahead of this year's exam season.

Jess the therapy dog, who is registered with charity Pets as Therapy  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDJess the therapy dog, who is registered with charity Pets as Therapy Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The therapy dogs, from charity Pets as Therapy (PAT), met students for a cuddle at a series of sessions held at the Ipswich university's chaplaincy.

More then 100 young people turned up to Thursday's event, where they could forget about exams for a short while and spend time relaxing with therapy dog Jess.

Gergana Ivanova, communications and events coordinator at the Students' Union, said the session was just one of a series of programmes designed to tackle exam-related stress among young people.

“We are doing a lot of activities to help our students relax and help with their mental health, because a lot of students are experiencing stress during revision,” she said.

The University of Suffolk held dog therapy sessions for students who have been struggling with exam stress  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe University of Suffolk held dog therapy sessions for students who have been struggling with exam stress Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“We had feedback from students saying that they wanted a 'puppy room' – this is based on their feedback.

“There are studies that found stress levels are reduced when people spend time with animals. We just wanted to test it for ourselves.

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“I have already received lots of feedback from students. Most of them say they really enjoyed it.

More then 100 young people turned up to one of the events, where they could spend time relaxing with therapy dog Jess  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDMore then 100 young people turned up to one of the events, where they could spend time relaxing with therapy dog Jess Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“It was very successful and we will definitely do it again.”

Ms Ivanova said stress among young people is a “big worry” – and something the union takes very seriously.

“As a students' union we are actively working on reducing that,” she said.

“It is a priority for us to help students overcome this. This is one of lots of things that we do.”

The session was just one of a series of programmes designed to tackle stress among young people  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDThe session was just one of a series of programmes designed to tackle stress among young people Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Jane Ettebartle, a volunteer at Pets as Therapy who brought her dog Jess to Thursday's session, registered with PAT after spotting another therapy dog on the job.

“I saw another dog at the hospital being walked round as a PAT dog, and so I decided to make enquiries,” she said.

“I registered with the PAT people and went for our assessment. Jess passed with flying colours – she absolutely loves it.”

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