Managed by Canine Concern Scotland Trust

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Paws Against Stress

Paws Against Stress

This began as an innovative pilot project in 2013 and was intended to help to alleviate student stress before examinations. The first sessions were at the University of  Edinburgh following an invitation to CCST to collaborate with their Student Counselling Service in this project. Now, in 2023, as they say the rest is history.

The project very quickly proved to be extremely popular with students, university staff and with our Therapet volunteers. The above title was originally coined by the Student Counsellors in Edinburgh but this was quickly hi-jacked by CCST and by the many other institutes which saw and appreciated the benefits from holding sessions for their students. In 2019 CCST held 178 sessions in universities, colleges and some commercial organisations across Scotland, 11,800+ people benefited from attending these events. This is a free service to universities, colleges or places of further education.

CCST has developed and refined guidance for managing this type of event and our aim is to give all students the same helpful experience no matter where they are studying. At the same time we need to safeguard and ensure the comfort and wellbeing of our Therapets and volunteers.

If you are interested in arranging a Paws Against Stress event at a local university, college or place of further education please take note of the criteria and suggestions below.

Please make contact with your local CCST Area Representative or with the CCST office in Edinburgh as soon as you begin to consider hosting a session for students in your locality. You should try to arrange an early meeting at the site proposed for the session and consider some of the following issues.

NOTE: CCST would also arrange this type of event on commercial premises for their staff for a minimum donation of £250 when availability allows and outside of the university, college or places of further education exam times.

  • Venue - Adequate size of meeting room, carpeted or not, ensure that there is ease of access for dogs and plenty ventilation.
  • Waiting Room - Students often arrive early and a separate room or space is required where they can be checked in and wait quietly for their time slot with the dogs.
  • Parking - Convenient parking, free if possible and preferably close to the venue for inclement weather.
  • Number of Therapets - For busy sessions we use  a team of six Therapets and their volunteer handlers. This will vary depending on likely attendance but a large space is necessary to avoid too close proximity and to allow students to move about the room with ease and minimal disturbance.
  • Choice of Therapets - The Therapet dogs must be very sociable and relaxed in novel and busy situations. We try to offer the students attending any session a choice of dog breeds to meet, and/or a variety of sizes and breed types.
  • Timing - We normally run the session for a maximum of two hours. Experience has shown that the dogs are tired and lose concentration and interest at longer sessions. This gives a possible attendance of 144 students in 6 groups of 4 students for 20 minutes each with the 6 dogs.
  • Risk Assessment - We will provide an appropriate risk assessment and details of the CCST Public Liability Insurance as necessary.

Paws Against Stress

Download our Paws Against Stress guidance document.


To enquire about this Therapet visiting service should contact the administrator on the details below. We will then be able to give you more information on how this Therapet Service operates and who the nearest Area Representative is to your location. Please note that this is a Free Service.


Why Therapet?

“Volunteering with Therapet has been a truly rewarding experience for us both. It gives me a sense of purpose and fulfilment knowing that Cody is making a difference in someone's life.”

Diane & Cody

Therapet Volunteers

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