A pair of adorable dogs have taken on a new role to support college students in Northampton.
Lucy and Pepper have been welcomed to classrooms at Moulton College as part of the education provider’s latest wellbeing initiative.
After research showed that show dogs can reduce stress and increase energy levels in students, the college decided to bring in the therapy dogs earlier this term.
The animal welfare department is already seeing positive outcomes for students in comparison to last year.
Caroline Sanders, associate programme co-ordinator at the animal welfare centre, said: “I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to fulfil this initiative with the hope to improve student wellbeing and their overall experience at college.
“Given the current situation (with Covid-19) it comes at a welcome time.
“Research has shown that after interacting with a dog, even 10 hours later, students have reported slightly less negative emotion, feeling more supported, and feeling less stressed – this is what we’re hoping to achieve here.”
Sam Smith, head of animal welfare at the college added: “Since 2015, 85 percent of colleges in the UK have reported an increase in mental health concerns; a staggering amount and something which needs to improve.
“By introducing the therapy dogs into our classes we’re hoping to improve our students’ wellbeing by supporting their studies and as a consequence, opening up their future opportunities.”
To prevent the spread of coronavirus, the dogs are incorporated into student bubbles, minimising their own, and student exposure.
Students are being encouraged to wash their hands and sanitise after touching the dogs and the dogs are also being provided with regular breaks away from students to ensure they can rest.
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