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    • 03 May, 2017

    TheraPaws Help Students with Exam Stress

    This time of year most students can be found in the library frantically preparing for exams, so The Mayhew Animal Home decided to give them a break from the revision and brighten up their day with visits from our gorgeous TheraPaws dogs.

    Our TheraPaws dogs are a part of The Mayhew’s animal therapy visiting programme, which recognises the mutual benefits of animals engaging with people, particularly older people with dementia, helping to improve the relationships between humans and dogs. As well as enhancing people’s lives by helping to reduce social isolation, stress and unlocking memories and emotions, the initiative also helps animals by raising awareness of the positive effects dogs can have, including promoting respect and compassion towards animals.

    Noodle enjoying cuddles with one of the students

    Our volunteers’ Helen Liu with her dog Java and Deborah Taffler with her dog Noodle spent their free time meeting students from the University of Westminster and offering them a helping paw and time out to relax and unwind with a cuddle from a couple of our canine friends.

    When our TheraPaws dogs arrived at the University of Westminster’s campus in Marylebone, London, they were quickly awarded with huge smiles and lots of attention from their many admirers.

    Java loving the attention

    Our volunteers and their dogs normally help with stress reduction when they go on regular visits to care homes, day centres, hospices and hospitals across 11 different London boroughs including Brent, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, and Haringey. And with 62 volunteers and 52 dogs devoting their time to the scheme, our visiting animal therapy programme is growing from strength to strength.

    The Mayhew’s TheraPaws Project Manager, Luke Berman, said: “I’m delighted that our TheraPaws volunteers and their dogs were able to help students during this stressful period. It was a brilliant day and we met a variety of different people.”

    “The main aim of the event was to help calm students’ nerves ahead of their exams and take their mind off studying by spending time interacting with our furry friends.”

    “The students all wanted to come over and speak to our volunteers and their dogs. It’s clear to see that they bring a lot of joy and wellbeing to people.”

    Viju Patel, Head of Counselling at the University of Westminster, added: “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.”

    “We would like to thank all of The Mayhew’s volunteers and their dogs for visiting the university. It has been really nice to see the students interacting with the dogs and it looks as though everyone has really enjoyed themselves, especially the dogs!”

    After all that attention and requests for cuddles and selfies throughout the day, our TheraPaws dogs were ready for a well-deserved rest. Hopefully our visit helped de-stress and calm some of the students ahead of their exams this month.

    Our next visit to the University of Westminster will be at the Harrow campus on Tuesday 9th May from 12.30pm until 2.30pm.

    Each student was asked to make a donation to The Mayhew Animal Home, which will help towards us expanding our TheraPaws programme and increasing the number of volunteers and visits.

    To find out more about TheraPaws or to make a donation, please visit our website or call 020 8962 8004. We rely entirely on generous donations from the public and don’t receive any lottery or government funding. 

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