The Puppy Room: “There’s nothing cuter than a guide dog”


People get excited about all kinds of things at uni. Some people (well, first and second years) look forward to an Ocean Wednesday seemingly with more relish than Christmas, whilst others discuss upcoming nights at Detonate as if afterwards, their lives will never be the same again.

But that’s all changed over the past month. Ever since the SU announced that if enough people voted in the elections they’d provide a puppy room for students to lose themselves in, it’s been the talk of the Trent town.

As I wandered to the gym five minutes before the elections closed, one of the candidates still canvassing for last minute votes almost screamed at me: “Don’t you want a puppy room?!” Of course I did. And so, it appeared, did everyone else. Enough of us voted and it was confirmed.

So with images of a scene reminiscent of 101 Dalmatians floating through people’s heads, where the SU would be overtaken by cute little puppies jumping around helping themselves to free Costa and partaking in a game of footy in the sports hall, the excitement for the mythical puppy room was reaching fever pitch.

Then details were released of how it was going to work. Sadly, there was to be no Dalmatians, but for the majority that was alright, because it was to be partly-trained guide dogs who were in need of increased human interaction that would be giving themselves up for snuggles. And there’s nothing cuter than a guide dog, is there?

In a typical male third year malaise I missed the booking tickets boat, but my dog loving girlfriend was on the booking ball and yesterday at 1.50 there we were in line, jealously watching the group in front of us have their ten minutes of dog cuddles, excited as we saw the dogs doll out plenty of love and slobber.

Poppy having a playful nibble

And then we were in. We headed straight for a chocolate lab named Poppy, who met us with a big bound. Eight months old, Poppy is two months away from moving away from home to Manchester, to further her training. Her owners had decided to take on the task of helping a guide dog train having retired, and clearly loved her. I would imagine a few tears will be shed when the moving day comes; I struggled not to let one slip when I said bye to her after just five minutes.

But move on we did, to the whole heap of adorable you can see pictured on the right. Look at those eyes. If there’s nothing cuter than a guide dog, then I’m certain that there’s nothing more heart melting than a dog looking at you like that. “Hello,” they’re saying. “Aren’t I just the nicest thing ever?” Yes, Rye, yes you are.

This little fella seduced George
This little fella seduced George

Poppy was the livelier of the two, having a playful nibble and letting her tongue loll out of her mouth as she gazed up at us expectantly, and had we waved goodbye to our inhibitions I’m sure she’d have been well up for a proper roll around the top floor of the SU. Rye was a little more subdued, but all the cuter for it, and sat there nuzzling us a little as we cooed our way through our last five minutes in the room.

The thinking behind the initiative is that ten minutes in the Puppy Room is supposed to de-stress you, chill you out, cause you to relax, and then you can return to your work like a dog with a bone, ready to go again. I’ll be honest, I’m a cynic, and just thought it was a good excuse for everyone to have fun with dogs.

But after the trip yesterday, I was in a wonderful mood, and can honestly say I seemed to get plenty of work done in the afternoon, falling in love with two adorable pups in the process.

You don’t have to book either, there’s a queue for those without tickets, and if there’s spaces in time slots, then they’ll let you in. So, if you do fancy going down, then you still can.

And if you do, say hello to Rye for me.

George Solomon


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