Dog therapy to help wellbeing at Leeds University Union

Leeds Now's Ben Barry with trainee therapy dog Mouse.

Students suffering from stress, anxiety and depression have received a helping paw from the university’s dog therapy session.

Mouse the dog boops the camera
Kane Daly There are 9.9 million owned dogs in the UK, according to the YouGov Paw report.

Sharron was able to spend five minutes with the dogs between lunch and her next lecture.

“They’re really cute and relaxing, especially when you’re stressed,” she said.

Mabel the therapy dog sat with students and being stroked
Kane Daly 84% of owners agreed that having a pet made them mentally healthier, according to the YouGov Paw report.

“You’ve got something to look forward to on a Thursday afternoon, I know I really look forward to it when I’ve got three hours of lectures.”

Mabel the therapy dog being beautiful.
Kane Daly Mabel is an 11-year-old Cocker Spaniel who attends the dog therapy sessions whenever owner, and part time lecturer, Paula is available.

Rachel, a second year student, said: “I’m much more calm when I’m around dogs than when I’m not.”

Mouse the trainee therapy dog sat on the lap of owner Natalie
Kane Daly Mouse, the 11-month-old Bedlington Terrier, is a trainee therapy dog.

Natalie Best, owner of Mouse, regularly brings her dog to the therapy sessions in the union. “A lot of students cry, I find. Mouse sits on their knee and they just cry.

Mouse, the trainee therapy dog being held by students.
Kane Daly 33% of students reported that they were often or always lonely, according to The Insight Network.

“I started doing this six years ago when my mum had early onset dementia.” She noticed that having a dog sat on her lap would calm her mother down again.

Wide shot of the dog therapy group.
Kane Daly Leeds University Union hosts dog therapy sessions every Thursday for students.

When Natalie’s not providing sessions for students, she can be found giving dog therapy in care homes.

“They might only be happy in that moment and then when you’re gone they’re not,” she said.

“They talk to the dog and they’ll sit there and think it’s there dog. At least you’re visiting them, a lot of them don’t get visitors.”

About the Author

Ben Barry & Kane Daly
Leeds Now Journalists.

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