Dogs help relieve Swansea students' exam stress

By Caleb Spencer
BBC Wales News

media captionRescue dogs help Swansea students to relax

The stress and strain of exams can push university students to reach for the bottle rather than the pen.

But a scheme between Swansea University Students' Union (SU) and a dog rescue centre is aiming to relieve stress in a more paw-ductive way.

Greyhound Rescue Wales (GRW) brought dogs along to the Singleton Campus for Study Aid sessions throughout January to help students unwind between exams.

The sessions also allow some dogs to "trust humans again", a volunteer said.

The dog sessions are the most oversubscribed of all the SU's Study Aid programme of events.

image captionThe sessions also allow some dogs to "trust humans again", one volunteer said

GRW volunteer Angela Hewitt said the sessions were mutually beneficial for the dogs and students.

"The students love the rapport they build up with the dogs - it is a win-win situation to be honest," she said.

"The dogs get fuss and attention, endless treats and get people to play with them."

James Rampton, a third-year politics and ancient history student, said the session had helped him relax and unwind.

"Being around animals is relaxing for most people so it is a nice chance to get all the tension out of you," he said.

image captionSome dogs like to play...

Third year history student Jo Gammon said: "I have got a dog at home that I miss, so this is nice because I can see some animals and it relaxes me as well."

Felicity Wilkins, who also volunteers with Ammanford-based GRW, said greyhounds were the perfect dog for the job.

"They are very calm, very accepting and do enjoy the sessions," she said.

"It builds their confidence and it allows them to trust in humans again because some have had quite a rough beginning before they got re-homed."

image caption...while others prefer to watch

Chloe Hutchinson, the SU education officer, said the sessions had been a "massive success".

"I find it really hard not to just be happy and light up when I see a dog," she explained.

"Also, a lot of students have dogs at home and might be a bit homesick, especially around exam time when it is stressful and you just want your home comforts."

image captionThe sessions also help students with dogs at home who might be homesick

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