A man's best friend

The Students' Union at Trinity College in Dublin has set up a puppy room to help people deal with exam stress.

1 year ago
Aisling Kenny
"They are just full of energy, you come in and you're so focused on them you're not thinking of exams"
"They have an extra inner sense they want to connect and be your friend"
Anne O'Gorman, who is a volunteer with Peata House, brought her dog to yesterday's session at Trinity College.

"As they came into the room all I could see were smiles from everybody. Dogs have a wonderful effect on everybody," Ms O'Gorman said.

"They have an extra inner sense that they want to connect and they want to be your friend. They are full of love and they want to give it to you," she added.
Hundreds of students queued to spend 15 minutes with the dogs in return for a small donation to the Peata Ireland charity.

Many of the students said that spending time with the dogs was a much needed distraction from their books.

Welfare Officer with Trinity Students' Union Stephen Garry explained where the idea for the puppy room came from: "The idea itself came from the US where a lot of universities and colleges would have had therapy dogs or puppies to relieve stress in college.

"Putting dogs in a room isn't really going to eradicate stress, but I do think it provides people with a little bit of relief and a little bit of a break during their study period.

"Bringing therapy dogs into a college is really important, but it's not to be seen as any type of treatment or cure for mental illness," he added.
Patricia O'Byrne, who is studying hard for her summer exams, was among those who enjoyed spending time with the dogs.

"They love humans, they just come over and are so happy to see everyone," she said.

"Humans can be negative especially around exam time. Everyone is stressed out you rarely see a stressed dog," she said.
College students are reaching the 'tail' end of the academic year and the inevitable final exams.

With exams and research papers piling up, students' stress levels are at their peaks.

The Students' Union at Trinity College in Dublin has set up a puppy and dog room to help students deal with exam stress.

Peata Ireland, a voluntary organisation that arranges pet visits to caring institutions, was on campus with a host of furry friends yesterday.
"It's not to be seen as any type of treatment or cure for mental illness"
Emma Boushea, who was among the hundreds of students who took a break from studying yesterday to visit the puppy room, said she thoroughly enjoyed the experience: "They are just full of energy, you come in and you're so focused on them you're not thinking of exams."

"They are all so happy and then there are so many different types. There are little ones running around and big ones slumped on the floor.

"They all have this love in them there is no malice. You come in and they light up the room, I'm quiet stressed at the moment.

"It's nice to have something to do out of the ordinary, I've been looking forward to it all week," she said.
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