With the pressures of deadlines, essays and exams, university students often face large amounts of pressure. To try and combat anxiety and worry, the University of South Wales are hosting ‘Therapy Dogs Nationwide’.
According to their website, studies show that people who interact with therapy dogs have increased confidence, improvement in general health and wellbeing and even improved communication skills, along with being beneficial for mental health in general.
The company, which has been running since 2016, entirely by volunteers. One volunteer who has been a part of the team since it began, Mavis Jenkins told her story about how she got started.
Mavis owns four therapy dogs, and takes them around to different locations, such as hospitals, nursing homes and prisons, in the hopes that they will help people who need relief from anxiety and depression.
Photos taken by Melisa Numan
“Dogs are beneficial to most people, and I think it is now accepted that any interaction with animals is very good for mental health. As with students and everyone else that we meet, we tend to find people get a lot of benefit”, said Mavis.
Mavis said she began working with therapy dogs after losing her husband, and saw that her dog didn’t want to leave the pillow her husband slept on.
“She was 18 months old, and did not want to leave his pillow. He did her so much good, and after he died that’s what made me think she might like being a therapy dog”.“And of course
lots of students who had dogs at home who don’t live at home now miss them, and it’s the same with people in nursing homes, who’ve had dogs their whole life and now suddenly can’t have them”.
Students seemed excited and full of joy in the Atrium today, surrounded by the dogs from Therapy Dogs Nationwide. They were seen cuddling, patting and stroking the furry friends.
One student, Gareth Edwards said “I’ve never been happier”, as he cuddled with Mavis’ dog, Dot.
There were four dogs at the university today, ranging in breed and size, and they were surrounded by students during their entire visit.