For commuters feeling the stresses and strains of the daily work life balance, help will be on hand at Stafford station next week when a collection of animals will be on duty to provide therapeutic calm and peace as travellers arrive and depart.
Virgin Trains has joined forces with Staffordshire based animal education and therapy providers, Critterish Allsorts in a UK first to provide a pet therapy service at a railway station. The company will have a collection of animals available for commuters to sit with and pet. The idea is to give rail travellers a chance to unwind after their long journeys and busy working days, before the next leg of their journey. This will hopefully lead to calmer onward journeys for all of those that take the time to join in.
Pet therapy works, by lowering the heart rate and reducing anxiety and stress through the release of feel good hormones oxytocin, serotonin and prolactin. Critterish Allsorts is renowned for its work in this field and has been recognised in this pioneering field by experts on both sides of the Channel. Dale Preece-Kelly, owner of Critterish Allsorts says “We want to develop a blueprint for pet therapy, and bring it to the masses – making it a mainstream and prescribed medical treatment. This is the perfect forum to allow the public to try the treatment for themselves”.
Fiona Main, Virgin Trains Team Leader at Stafford who recently won an award for her work in the community says: “This is another way of offering something a little different at the station and improving people’s journeys to or from work by giving them the chance to experience something they otherwise wouldn’t normally think of. The station team works hard locally to get the community involved with us and has had great success recently with an art work exhibition, performing musicians and an Olympic Torch event. We want the station to be an interesting and vibrant place to visit rather than simply being seen as a routine functional concrete building. We are really excited to work with Critterish Allsorts and in helping to prove how pet therapy has a place as a mainstream treatment for stress”
The pet therapy trial will take place at Stafford station on Tuesday and Thursday 2 and 11 October 2012 between 16:00 and 19:00.