Students were afforded a furry reprieve from their studies today as the eagerly awaited Exam Destress Canine Therapy Room ran between 12pm and 4pm.
The event, organised by Welfare officer Stephen Garry in conjunction with Irish charity Peata, has been well received by student, with the Facebook page garnering 2,525 attendees. Education officer Jack Leahy commented that the response was “a little bit terrifying”, though went on to say that this response has not negative impact on the event itself. Stephen Garry addressed this on the event page, playfully remarking that the attendance exceeded that of the UCD Ball, which is set to take place tomorrow.Evidently puppies incite more excitement than Clean Bandit ever could
Though the actual attendance at the event did not reach these levels, Jack Leahy commented that the queue for the event had been “consistently long”. The organisers allowed groups of up to fifteen students enter the room every ten minutes, with an estimated three hundred students having visited the animals over the course of the four hour event.
Stephen Garry commented that the organisation of the destressing event was, ironically, far from stress free, citing issues with insurance and health and safety. Despite the event having been in the works since October, Garry stated that this was the first opportunity they had to stage the event. ” I was very conscious of getting the event in before the exam period was in full swing.
A number of media outlets were in situ at the event, including RTE, TV3, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times, much to Garry’s delight. ” In terms of awareness it’s really good for [Peata] to get the publicity.”
The charity organising providing the animals, Peata, is an voluntary organisation founded in Ireland in 1996. All of the animals were accompanied by their owners, who volunteered with their animals by submitting dogs for assessment in front of a committee to determine their suitability as a therapy dog. Norman Cross, who has been working with Peata for fourteen years with his greyhound Velvet, commented that while the dogs don’t undergo any specific training to become therapy dogs, a certain personality is needed. ” I think the character [needed] could be summed up as being gentle, and not pushing.” Though the dogs normally frequent nursing homes and hospitals, visiting patients, the owners commented that the dogs appeared to be taking the influx of students “in their stride.”
Research indicates that interaction with therapy dogs has a correlation with the decrease of levels of immunosuppressant cortisol in the system, leading to stress relief.
Students took to Twitter, under the hashtag #TCDbarks, to express their excitement over the arrival or the puppies.
Due to the high demand, only TCD students were permitted to attend, much to the disappointment of others.