On the 11th of January, the Guide Dogs Society held their first ‘Meet the Guide Dogs’ event of the year in the Union. For those unfamiliar with the concept, ‘Meet the Guide Dogs’ is an opportunity for students to, essentially, pet and interact with guide dogs as a way of de-stressing during stressful exam periods. I decided to attend the event, both because I decided it was important to document such a great activity, and also because I would never turn down an opportunity to pet loveable dogs.
In order to participate, students had to purchase tickets to the event, and each ticket provided you with 15-20 minutes of interaction with the guide dogs. This may not sound like a lot of time, but I was surprised to discover that even 10 minutes spent with the dogs was enough time to boost my mood. Moreover, the Guide Dogs Society is partnered with the Guide Dogs UK charity, therefore, all the money they gain from fundraisers goes towards helping improve the living conditions of blind and partially sighted people in Leeds. When you think about what a great cause that is, it makes you realise that the couple of extra pounds you spend are worth it.
Beyond just getting to pet the dogs, I also got to speak with some of the guide dog owners, who were just as lovely. They told us about their guide dogs, how long they’ve had them, and how much they mean to them. It was amazing to learn more about the experiences they’ve had with their guide dogs, and it makes you realise just how important guide dogs are to the blind and partially sighted community.
Having to leave the room full of dogs after my session was over was a bitter-sweet ordeal. It was bitter because the dogs were adorable, and disregarding what I mentioned earlier about 10 minutes being enough, I would have gladly spent the entire day with them. However, it was also sweet because Mars, one of the Guide Dogs Society’s sponsors, handed out candy bars as people left. Literally sweet. The Guide Dogs Society will be holding the same event sometime around May, so if you’re looking for a way to calm yourself down whilst you prepare for your exams, and you don’t mind supporting a great charity, then I’d suggest you attend the next ‘Meet Guide Dogs’ event!
(Images: courtesy of LUU Guide Dogs)