Catz and Dogs - Our New Canine Initiative with Student Minds

Here at St Catharine’s College the mental health of our students is of the utmost importance. We’re keen to ensure that our students find the correct balance between studies and downtime, and that they remain mindful of the need to step away from the books from time to time.

With this in mind, back in September Lady Welland came up with an idea for our students – the opportunity to walk her Miniature Schnauzer Toby. She said “I was thinking of a way to try and help any student who might be feeling homesick or missing a pet back home, and the idea of walking Toby came to mind.

Our Communications Officer Lauren Thomas then spoke to the JCR Communications Officer Mel Craig, and the two of them decided to offer the opportunity to walk Toby as part of a Student Minds Catz initiative, as it would give students a chance to get outside for a walk in some fresh air as well as give them some time to clear their heads. Mel then recruited a Chief Dog Walker, Becki Manaley, who came up with a term-time dog walking rota and also took the time to speak to each interested student about Toby and their experience with dogs. Amazingly, the rota was fully booked within a few hours of going online! The rota allowed Catz students to sign up in pairs to walk Toby for half an hour every afternoon. Toby has been loving meeting new people, and the response we’ve had has been wonderful. We even had to set Toby up with his own Instagram account due to the interest in his adventures!”

The popularity of Toby within St Catharine’s (and beyond – we’ve had to turn away non-Catz members from the rota!) has been so big, that we have produced a range of Toby Christmas Cards which we are selling to raise funds for Student Minds Catz. A pack of four cards can be bought for just £5 from the Porter’s Lodge and the Bar. These are limited edition, and we don’t expect them to hang around for very long, so make sure you grab your pack and help us to raise money for a very important College organisation.