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Guide Dog playing with toy

Discover Guide Dogs returns for second year to help students relieve stress

  • Guide dogs and puppies will be brought into MMU to help students
  • Students can play with the dogs for 15 minutes per session
  • Event is returning for second year after the success of last year's programme

MMU Guide Dog programme

Following the success of last year’s event, MMU Sport has organised for the Guide Dog Association to hold another day for students to spend 15-minutes in a room full of puppies and dogs.

The Discover Guide Dogs event aims to help students de-stress, however, it the day serves a dual-purpose as it also proves important in helping new guide dog puppies’ gain socialising practise.

The event aims to help students settle into university life, while also give valuable knowledge on the importance guide dogs have in helping those in need.

For a small donation of £3.50, which goes directly to the Guide Dog Association, students can spend time relaxing with some canine friends. Discover Guide Dogs with MMU Sport will be taking place on the Tuesday 8th November between 1-3pm.

Students playing with MMU dogs
Students playing with guide dog

Abi Dean, MMU Sport active lifestyle officer, is responsible for organising the event. The NQ met up with her to ask about the benefits of hosting an event like this:

“We hope that new students who are feeling a bit daunted at University or feeling homesick will take some comfort from this kind of relaxed activity,” she said.

“For other students, especially with those who are already beginning to feel the workload, we hope that this gives them a ‘timeout’ and they leave feeling refreshed and ready to tackle their next assignment.”

Due to the success of the event in recent years, Abi has told us that they will be running more sessions on 14 February and 27 April.

The efforts to help students cope with university doesn’t stop there;

“When the dogs are busy working, we will make sure we have lots of other relaxing treats for students such as yoga, pilates, colouring, and a specially themed event to help students cope with stress,” Abi said.

Guide dogs at MMU
Guide dogs students can play with

Diane Moore of the Guide Dog Association is coordinating with Abi to organise the event.

“The main aim of these events if to raise funds and awareness for Guide Dogs.

“It’s also a great way for students to take some time away from studies and de-stress, especially during the busy exam times,” Diane told us.

“Studies show that interactions with animals can decrease stress in humans. Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone, cortisol.”

The event is viewed as important to teach students about the journey a guide dog goes through before making that life-changing impact on somebody in need.

“The dogs we bring along to these events are a mix of puppies with their volunteer Puppy Walkers, trainee guide dogs, qualified guide dogs, and retired or rehomed guide dogs.

“With there being a mix of dogs at different stages in their lives, it’s a great opportunity for students to chat to handlers and find out about how our dogs are trained and what a real life changing difference guide dogs make,” Diane told us.

 

Diane hopes that the students attending these events will be inspired to go on and help support the Guide Dog Association in the future. Fundraising and volunteer roles are necessary to ensure the Guide Dog Association can continue to train guide dogs in the UK.

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