Leeds City College recruits therapy dog

Leeds City College
Image credit: Leeds City College

Something for the weekend: Embracing a diverse workforce demographic is a key agenda item for many organisations, however Leeds City College provides a shining example of its inclusive workplace culture by hiring 12-week-old puppy Jeffrey (pictured).

Cockerpoo Jeffrey has been hired as a pet therapy animal for the college’s schools of health sciences, childhood and education and public services in order to help support exam-frazzled and stressed students.

However, Jeffrey will also be rolemodelling positive employee behaviours and revealing insights about working at the college with his very own blog. Jeffrey will also use the blog to showcase his learning and development opportunities as well as demonstrate his day-to-day tasks.

As part of his new role, Jeffrey has been attending Puppy School on a weekly basis to train to become a fully accredited therapy dog, although the four-legged employee has already been testing out his new skills.

Shelia Lucciarini, head of childcare and public services at Leeds City College, said: “Once Jeffrey is fully trained, we will register with UK animal charity, Pets as Therapy (PAT) to get approval for him to become a PAT visiting dog. We’ll then be able to visit care and educational settings to support others.

“Studies suggest that pets play an effective role in supporting the young and elderly and we’ll be conducting research into the impact Jeffrey has on our most vulnerable students and their achievement levels, especially those with autism and additional needs.

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“We’ll be teaching our students the benefits therapy dogs have on those living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s not uncommon to watch someone transition from emotionless to joyful when a pet enters the room. Dogs can also support cognitive behaviour to work with phobias and fears, along with counselling and mental health support for depression, anger management, behavioural issues, self-harm and eating disorders.”

Here at Employee Benefits, we love the idea of having a pet therapy animal in the office, especially one as cute as Jeffrey. We feel he would be a great asset to any team, although it would be brilliant if he could manage the coffee run too…