Dogs called in to relax stressed out students

The university hopes to help its stressed out students
The university hopes to help its stressed out students
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Dogs are being called in to help relax stressed out students ahead of exam season.

Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen will be offering the four-legged therapy in the build up to Christmas deadlines.

The RGU: Union’s offices at Garthdee Campus will be tranformed into a dog-petting room with the help of Canine Concern Scotland.

Students will be given a dog to pet during a 15-minute slot, with research showing that feel good hormones are released during even short spells with man’s best friend.

The event has been organised by the university’s Mental Wellbeing Society which aims to promote good mental health among RGU’s student body and to challenge the stigmas associated with mental health conditions.

RGU student Lewis Eden, events officer for the university’s Mental Wellbeing Society, said: “We decided to organise a dog-petting day at RGU as research shows that simply playing with a dog reduces the stress levels of a person and the overall happiness of that individual is increased thanks to the release of oxytocin – the feel good hormone.

“Dog-petting rooms have proved to be really successful at other universities and so we chose to hold our own event at this time of year in particular as students across campus are faced with the challenges and stresses that come with coursework deadlines, exams and preparing for Christmas.

“We have no doubt that the dogs will calm frazzled nerves and cheer our students up as they go through what can be a stressful period of university life.”

The launch of RGU’s dog-petting programme follows the success of a similar initiative at a Canadian university in 2012 and at the University of Aberdeen in 2013.

Canine Concern Scotland Trust was formed in 1988 to promote responsible dog ownership in Scotland. It has since established a ‘Therapet’ service and promotes research into the therapeutic value of dogs.