By Jack Holmes
Impending deadlines? Missing home? Been in your overdraft so long you don’t remember what “money” even is anymore? Maybe you’re just feeling, ahem, ruff? Don’t worry guys, MMU Sport is giving you a little break from your everyday student stresses, to instead, pet super cute dogs with a completely sold out day of four-legged-fun.
Through a partnership between MMU Sport and the Manchester branch of the Guide Dogs Association for the Blind, Manchester Met students were invited to spend some quality time with some furry friends, raising over £700 for the charity.
Most of the dogs were brought in by their owners, who have volunteered their time to promote the guide dog cause. Annie Giles-Quinn, accompanied by Mr Quin, a black Labrador, shared her experiences of the guide dog association with students. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my guide dog,” she stated. “He’s given me my life back.”
Oh, and if you’re thinking you recognise Mr Quin from somewhere, he’s been working with Granada TV for a number of years on Coronation Street. We’re expecting to see him to start landing movie deals any day now!
Jennifer Ashworth, a guide dog trainer for 6 years, attended with Labrador Cath, who’s currently in her fourth week of guide dog training at only 15 months old. She explained, “Training takes around seven months, at 16 weeks we move onto advanced training with their clients which is where they get to know each other”. Jennifer originally became involved in the guide dog training scheme during her time as a student, “I first saw guide dogs when I was at Preston University and started volunteering at puppy classes.”
So, if you fancy yourself a professional dog whisperer, it looks like now’s the perfect time to start your own training!
The event was also a platform to draw attention to some of the stigmas attached to the guide dog organisation. The idea that dogs are forced into their place as working dogs was immediately shattered by a room full of happy faces, who clearly enjoy the company as much as the students enjoy theirs. “They never put a guide dog through training if it seems like they don’t want to,” owner Jacqui commented.
In fact, the dogs at the event seemed happier than just about any dogs you could hope to meet, embracing the attention and excitement of their roles as poster dogs for an organisation that’s helped so many people over the years, and continues to do so into the future.
Abi Dean, event organiser and MMU Sports Participation Officer said, “MMU Sport are delighted to have teamed up with the Guide Dogs Association to raise more than £700 on International Guide Dogs Day. The event was a fantastic opportunity for students and staff to take a break and relax during the exam period. MMU Sport are keen to try new ways to improve student and staff wellbeing and to raise money for a great cause at the same time was rewarding for everyone involved.”
Abi also shared her team’s plans to host similar events around the exam periods as “it’s a stressful time for students as a whole”. She added, “With deadlines, it’s very much on the agenda of improving the student experience.”
Abi and her team are also running a number of other events throughout exam season, so if you’re looking for some activities to de-stress yourself through these trying times you can check out the full list here.
Who doesn’t like seeing a cute dog on their news feed every once in a while, right?