Two popular members of staff at Hartpury are making a ‘paws-ative’ difference to the wellbeing and mental health of students.
Dogs Ralph and Bailey – a labrador and cocker spaniel respectively – are performing such important roles on campus that they even have their own staff cards.
As part of Hartpury’s commitment to student welfare, the caring canines have been registered with the charity ‘Pets As Therapy’, following a temperament assessment, to provide companionship and emotional support.
Jake Marks, Student Experience Manager and Head Warden at Hartpury, said: “Ralph and Bailey have quickly become very valuable members of the Hartpury community. Everyone benefits from spending time with them, along with gaining from the other support services we provide.
“It doesn’t take long to see the positive effects that Ralph and Bailey have on students who are perhaps homesick, missing their own pets, or feeling anxious ahead of their upcoming exams. Our students say they really enjoy having them around, which is great.”
Jake, who owns Ralph, added: “As part of our commitment to providing the highest level of animal welfare, it is important that Ralph and Bailey benefit from the interaction too, of course, and we manage their diaries very carefully.”
Bailey is owned by Jessica Forrester, a Mental Health Adviser and Learning Support Adviser at Hartpury. Both dogs are residential and live with their owners on campus.
As well as access to the two dogs, Hartpury provides students with a wide range of specialist support services on campus.
The Student Zone provides access to advice about wellbeing, finance and accommodation, while the Achievement and Success Centre offers guidance on a whole range of subjects, from academic writing and referencing to revision and overcoming examination nerves.
Picture: Hartpury students with dogs Bailey (left) and Ralph