Canine Cuddles at Kedleston Campus!
The Puppy Room paid the university a visit on the 8th of January, and with a suggested donation of £2 you could spend 10 minutes cuddling a friendly guide dog! It was open 10.30 am until 3.30 pm, and from the moment they had set up in the Atrium at the Kedleston campus, people were queuing up. It was organised by the students, for the students, as the Derby Raise & Give team took the helm, in partnership with Guide Dogs UK.
You got to sit with a dog of your choice for the first 5 minutes, and ask their owners any questions you had about training and keeping a guide dog. After your 5 minutes are up you move on to another dog and do the same! Cuddling was encouraged, as all the dogs enjoyed the fuss and attention.
I met Minnie the Labrador and Rory the Golden Retriever during my 10 minutes, and they were both lovely. They were calm and happy to meet new people. I spoke to second year Fashion Design student Lana Barker about whether she was happy with the suggested donation and she replied, “Yes, it was very fair considering the cost of training a guide dog. The handler told me that it costs up to £50,000 per dog.”
I also talked to a student who asked to be referred to as “HackerMan” about his experience at the event. He said “It was nice, since I’m away from home and I’m used to being around my pets, so it was good to get to spend some time with the dogs.”
On the day the event page set up on Facebook had over 350 people RSVP’ing that they would attend and almost 300 saying they were interested in attending. I spoke to Bethany Crook, the Derby RAG Chair, and Amy Petterson, the community fund raiser for Guide Dogs UK, and judging by how many people had visited by 1pm, they expected around 500 people to have attended altogether by the end of the event. They also told me that a total of 20 adult dogs and puppies were there. I saw around 6-9 at a time being cuddled, and then after a while they swapped over.
It certainly was a popular event, and it would be great to see more of these adorable dogs in the future! Their aim is to hold another Puppy Room event in March.