Stressed-out police officers are getting psychological relief in the wake of dealing with tragedies – by cuddling PUPPIES.
PC Ian Walker, 46, has been cuddling puppies to combat stress after working over 50 hours a week.
The dog lover, who normally goes swimming to unwind, found that his stress levels dropped dramatically – after dealing with Grenfell Tower and Westminster.
He has taken part in the Pet a Puppy Stressbuster clinic with TV personality and runner Iwan Thomas and psychologist Sophie Hall.
PC Walker, who has no time for his own pooch, said: “I loved seeing all the dogs and spending time with them.
“I’m a dog lover myself but I don’t have one at the moment.
“I’ve had dogs in the past – I’ve wanted to get one but it’s too difficult with the times I work.
“I’m at work more than 12 hours for four days out of seven, sometimes four out of five – it would be unfair because I live on my own.
“It’s a bit of a cliché but every day is different – you see it on the news with the likes of Grenfell and the attacks at Westminster – you might be sent up to London to do long shifts.
“There’s big events like the Notting Hill Carnival to help police and cover, so it is different every day.”
The stress clinic, in Hackney, east London, proved that four-legged friends have a positive psychological impact.
PC Walker’s heart rates and blood pressure was measured after he performed a timed crossword before he was allowed to play with the puppies for 15 minutes.
He added: “I normally go swimming to unwind.
“I’ll let the scores speak for themselves – the numbers showed I was a lot less stressed, so the proof is in the proverbial pudding.”
Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, who help organise the clinic said: “This is a very interesting experiment – we’re all fairly certain that dogs are good for us, but what we’re doing here is actually proving that.
“We’ve got people who are very stressful jobs with busy lives. We’re checking their heart rate and blood pressure before giving them time with these lovely puppies.
“And we are finding the puppies are destressing those individuals, really showing that dogs do a great deal of good for us.
“We put the pressure on them and made a test – they didn’t have it easy and had to step up to the mark, but then afterwards they were calmer because of the dogs.
“Dogs are non-critical – they’re not sat thinking ‘you haven’t stroked me enough’ or ‘you’ve been at work for too long’, they don’t judge us, they don’t do anything but give us love.”