Students at Peter Symonds College in Winchester received a couple of very special visitors recently, when Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd dog and Rula the Hearing Dog visited the College, where a whole host of students spent time with both dogs in the College’s new provision, the Hub. The Hub is part of the pastoral support system at Peter Symonds College, aiming to support students' emotional health and wellbeing.Hannah Edwards, the College’s Mental Health Advisor and Hub Co-Ordinator discovered after speaking with many students, that what they felt would benefit them most would be to interact with an animal to enhance their well-being.

For many years it has been well known that animals can be used to help human beings in distress.Being with dogs makes people feel good as it raises levels of oxytocin. So with this in mind, Hannah went in search of a dog for the Hub. She contacted Therapy Dogs Nationwide, a charity providing various programmes involving dogs for the benefit of those receiving the service and was put in touch with Haatchi and Colleen, Haatchi’s owner. Hannah also contacted Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Rula and Elaine, her owner, also visited the College. Hannah says, “The dogs provide a very relaxing and calm atmosphere in the Hub. Some of the students who visited had had particularly bad days and it was lovely to see them smile and watch the stress melt away when interacting with the animals. It also helped students who perhaps often lack confidence, to talk to each other and start to make friends outside of their normal social circle. We’ve had a wonderful time and can't wait to see Haatchi and Rula again.”

Nicholas Orpin, Community Fundraising Manager from Hearing Dogs for Deaf people says, “Undertaking this kind of activity with students not only helps to raise awareness of the charity, but also helps to ease their stress. Hearing dogs help to alleviate a deaf person’s anxiety of not being understood or being able to understand a particular situation, as well as stopping them feeling isolated and helps to build their confidence.”

Comments from some of the students included, “Dogs make everything better. He (Haatchi) was calm and friendly.” “He (Haatchi) was really soft and cuddly and I love him.” “I liked spending time with Haatchi because he was so calm and cute which made me happy.” “I felt content, relaxed and full of life after meeting Haatchi.”

Posted on 06/11/17 at 16:19

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