The new stress-busting duo include Amber, the Great Dane, and Vodka, the Corgi, who will be visiting the College regularly to support nervous or anxious students to help build confidence, reduce anxiety and improve communication skills. The dogs will also be on hand to spread their calming influence before exams and will even become ‘life’ models for the art students to draw and paint.
Foundation prospects student Tarrel Andrews, said: “I really liked meeting the dogs. When they sat next to me it made me feel really happy. They made me feel calm and I would like to spend more time with them.”
Fellow student Lily Scott added: "It’s fun to have a therapy dog! I’ve loved it."
The four-legged recruits are registered with national charity Pets As Therapy (PAT) and have passed the necessary checks and assessments to ensure they have the perfect temperament for the role.
Interim Principal for Highbury College Penny Wycherley said: “The impact of therapy dogs on the wellbeing of students in an educational setting is widely recognised and I am so thrilled to be welcoming Amber and Vodka to join us. In the short time they have been on campus, we have seen first-hand the special ability that dogs have to connect with students and reduce stress.”
The College’s commitment to wellbeing also extends to staff who are now welcome to bring their pets into work outside of term-time, once the relevant checks have been made.
Head of HR for Highbury College Pam Staples added: “Just seeing our canine colleagues around the campus puts smiles on faces. They really help reduce stress and give staff time way from their computers. Staff seem able to refocus and feel more engaged with their work after interacting with our PAT colleagues. We can’t wait to see more of Amber and Vodka!”