So how does it work?
All Doggy De-stress sessions can be tailored to your wishes, but will be dictated primarily by the welfare needs of our dogs.
Sessions must take place in an appropriate safely enclosed space – empty office, suitable quiet break out area or conference room. We suggest somewhere without tables (dogs like hiding under them!) or where tables can be blocked off and somewhere not too big because dogs like running around and you won’t get to have the cuddles! Rooms surrounded by glass can also be a distraction for the dogs. We will ask for either a picture or location visit to check out the area you propose.
One Doggy De-stress session involves the opportunity for small numbers of staff/students to rotate in groups every fifteen or twenty minutes to spend time with the dogs.
Where are you based?
We are based in central London, we travel mainly within the M25 but we have been known to travel a little further afield! No harm in asking us!
How much does it cost?
Our costings take into account the supply of up to three well trained dogs per session and knowledgeable and experienced dog handling staff. As a rough guide, a two hour session can cost a minimum of £500. Costs will vary depending on distance we travel and availability of our dogs and parking.
We can bring four dogs along for an extra charge to cover the cost of the extra vehicle required to transport the dogs.
How many hours can I have?
We deliver two hour sessions. We can provide one hour sessions, but at the price of a two hour session - our minimum cost. Due to the welfare of our dogs, we do not offer sessions any longer than two hours.
Can you give me an example of a session?
Yes! A two hour booking split in to fifteen minute sessions, for ten people per session and three dogs will cost around £500 depending on the dogs we use and the distance we travel. It would be structured as follows and allow for a total of 80 members of staff to be Doggy De-stressed:
13:00 - 13:15 - session 1
13:15 - 13:30 - session 2
13:30 - 13:45 - session 3
13:45 - 14:00 - session 4
14:00 - 14:15 - DOG BREAK
14:15 - 14:30 - session 5
14:30 - 14:45 - session 6
14:45 - 15:00 - session 7
15:00 - 15:15 - session 8
Who are the humans?
Doggy De-stress is run by Rob Harris and Mel Kemps. Rob has worked for the RSPCA and Guide Dogs for the Blind and Mel still works with Guide Dogs. Both are highly qualified in dog handling.
Who are the dogs?
We source our well behaved dogs, mainly labrador and labrador retrievers from experienced dog owners, and all of the dogs are put through a friendly test to make sure they can cope in environments with groups of people. We also need to make sure they love cuddles and being stroked!
What about health and safety?
We’re used to dealing with large offices and their managers getting understandably nervous about dogs in building. We have standard thorough risk assessments that we can send you and tailor to your premises.
It’s worth remembering that our dogs are very well behaved, but they are still dogs and you may get the odd excited bark and there’s a guarantee that hair will be left behind which will be the responsibility of the office vacuum to get rid of! We carry basic cleaning equipment with us should there be an accident and we bring alcohol gel and wipes.
Food will not be permitted in the de-stress area and dogs must not be fed or offered treats. All dogs have regular vet check ups and only come to work if they’re 100% fit and healthy.
How do you travel to us?
We will be coming to you via a dog friendly car, so ideally we ask for a parking space at your premises so we can get the dogs to you as fresh and stress-free as possible. If that’s not available we will park nearby, or get a dog friendly taxi - both will be charged on top of the cost of the sessions.
Can I see evidence of its success elsewhere?
Our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/doggydestress) has a huge amount of feedback from previous sessions with our clients. We’re currently working with high profile establishments such as Harrods, The Savoy, Foster + Partners, Adobe and King and all continue to give us 100% positive feedback. We ask that you collate feedback after the sessions for your benefit and ours so that you can see the amazing positive effect our visits can have on staff.
And the legal bit?
All our dogs are covered by third party liability insurance protection. We reserve the right to end a session at any time should we feel that the environment is, or becomes unsuitable for the welfare of our dogs. Our terms and conditions set out further details.
Can we take photos?
Yes! We encourage people to share their Doggy De-stress experience on social media using Twitter and Facebook channels.
What does the science say?
It is scientifically proven that spending time with dogs lowers heart rate and blood pressure (1). Just the act of stroking a dog achieves this along with a reduction in cholesterol.
Findings suggest that the social support dogs can provide can make a person feel more relaxed and decrease stress. Social support from friends, family work colleagues can have similar benefits, but interpersonal relationships often cause stress as well, whereas dogs may be less likely to cause stress. The social support provided by dogs also encourage more social interactions with people, reducing feelings of isolation or loneliness (2).
(1) Scientific research - Pet Ownership, but Not ACE Inhibitor Therapy, Blunts Home Blood Pressure Responses to Mental Stress 2001. Karen Allen, Barbara E. Shykoff, Joseph L. Izzo. http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/38/4/815.full
(2) Serpell JA (2011). Historical and cultural perspectives on human-pet interactions. In McCardel P, McCune S, Griffin JA, et al, Animals in Our Lives (pp. 7-22). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. http://center4research.org/healthy-living-prevention/pets-and-health-the-impact-of-companion-animals/#wsa-endnote-8