TEF Silver Award

Pets As Therapy Scheme

Zara is a curly coated retriever and is the University of Bolton’s Pets as Therapy dog. She was first introduced in January 2016 and students were invited to spend time with her in an effort to reduce exam related stress. Zara has been assessed by Pets As Therapy (PAT) to ensure she has the right temperament for supporting people. Her owner, Fiona Valentine, is the University’s Disability Service Manager.

PAT is a national charity founded in 1983, providing therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, special needs schools and a variety of other establishments. Since its beginning over 28,000 dogs have become registered PAT dogs.

This is the first time the University of Bolton has brought in pet stress-busters for students, but they are used by several American universities, including Harvard. Research shows that interaction with pets decreases the level of cortisol,  or stress hormone and increases endorphins, known as the happiness hormone.

‘Petting a trained therapy dog in a controlled environment has been shown to reduce people’s blood pressure and heart-rate, and generally instil a feeling of well-being for the recipient, with some of these changes lasting well beyond the initial interaction,” said Dr Jacqui Harrison, Senior Psychology Lecturer at the University of Bolton.

Feedback from students who saw Zara for her first visit in January 2016 was fantastic. Every student who provided feedback said they would definitely use the service again and 80 percent of them said spending some time with Zara had definitely improved their anxiety levels.

Here next on:

  • 1st March 2018 10:00 to 16:00 at Deane Campus
  • 26th April 2018 10:00 to 16:00 at Deane Campus
  • 15th May 2018 13:00 to 16:00 at Deane Campus
  • 16th May 2018 14:30 to 16:30 at Orlando Village Halls of Residence

No need to book,  just drop-in.