Photo: Bella the dachshund from Pet Therapy
Submitted by Hannah Jordan
Students at Chester University have received a welcome visit recently from visitors who are experts in helping to relieve exam stress.
Residents at The Towpath, one of two purpose-built student accommodations in Chester, owned and operated by Student Roost, spent an afternoon with Bella the Dachshund, from Pets As Therapy.
Enjoying endorphin-releasing cuddles, the students enjoyed puppy playtime, and finding out about how animals are used as therapy pets to help relieve tension, stress, and anxiety.
Over 20,000 residents from the UK and abroad choose Student Roost properties as their home during their university studies, with many of them leaving their friends, family, and even pets, for the first time.
For those students who are taking important exams and need to de-stress, are anxious about being away from home for the first time, or just need a puppy cuddle when they need it the most, a visit from Pets As Therapy is a date in the calendar everyone looks forward to.
Residents aren’t allowed to keep pets in their rooms or flats, and so events like this give students the chance to make some new furry friends.
Founded in 1983, Pets As Therapy is a not-for-profit charity which encourages pet visits in schools, businesses, prisons, care homes and hospices to enhance the health and wellbeing of the people who work at, use, and benefit from the services , help and advice available.
Pets As Therapy visits are just one of many events which take place at over 50 Student Roost properties across the UK each year.
Residents can experience and take part in a range of events including yoga, film and pizza nights, tie dye t-shirt making, craft fairs, and pool tournaments.
As well as year-round events, all Student Roost residents can connect with other residents and housemates for advice or a quick chat via The Neighborhood app, which helps people make friends before meeting in person at property events.
To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year took place during mid-May, activities such as wellbeing jars, gratitude trees, spa evenings and positivity post boxes were available for all residents across Student Roost properties.
Student Roost also organized a free mental health webinar for all its residents across the UK on May 19, with the BreatheUni initiative.
Hannah, a resident at The Towpath who regularly attends the property’s events, said:
“I never miss a visit from Pets As Therapy, and I’m usually one of the first in the social space waiting for them to arrive! When the dogs are here, I can feel my anxiety and worries dissolving. It’s just so nice to have the opportunity to cuddle them and forget about coursework and exams for a few hours.”
Hana Warbrick, Regional Operations Manager for Student Roost, said:
“All of the events that we organize at our two Chester properties are well loved by our residents, but it’s safe to say the therapy dog visits are the most popular amongst both residents and team members!
“We’re lucky to have had a few visits from the volunteers and their dogs already this year, and it’s heart-warming to hear our residents talk about how much they love to see the dogs, especially during the stresses of exams and deadlines or if they’re having a tough time.
“Some of our residents attend the Pets As Therapy events alone, which is not something that happens regularly at our other events. It’s wonderful for us to see that this event is appealing to residents who may not have a wide social circle, and there’s nothing better for our team members to see bonds and friendships grow through the love of dogs!”
For more information on Student Roost’s Chester properties, visit the website here.
More information on Pets As Therapy can be found here.
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