A GROUP of lucky students made some new furry friends during a special college visit.

Peter Symonds College pupils welcomed Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd dog, and Rula to the college’s new building, the Hub.

The Hub is part of the pastoral support system at the college.

Hannah Edwards, the college’s mental health advisor and Hub co-ordinator discovered that students would benefit from interactions with an animal to enhance their well-being.

Studies have shown being with dogs makes people feel good as it raises levels of oxytocin.

Hannah contacted Therapy Dogs Nationwide, and was put in touch with Colleen, Haatchi’s owner. She also approached Hearing Dogs for Deaf People who put her in touch with Rula’s owner, Elaine.

“The dogs provide a very relaxing and calm atmosphere in the Hub,” said Hannah.

“Some of the students who visited had had particularly bad days and it was lovely to see them smile and watch the stress melt away when interacting with the animals. It also helped students who perhaps often lack confidence, to talk to each other and start to make friends outside of their normal social circle. We’ve had a wonderful time and can’t wait to see Haatchi and Rula again.”

Nicholas Orpin, from Hearing Dogs for Deaf people, added: “Undertaking this kind of activity with students not only helps to raise awareness of the charity, but also helps to ease their stress.”