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Commuter therapy at train station

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: October 02, 2012

By Kerry Ashdown

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RAIL passengers are being given the chance to cuddle some creatures before catching their trains in Stafford thanks to a local pet therapy provider.

 Pets big and small, including a dog, tortoise, skink and skunk were on hand at the rail station to greet travellers of all ages on Tuesday.

 Virgin Trains staff hope the friendly faces will help commuters feeling the stresses and strains of daily life.

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 The firm has teamed up with Rugeley-based Critterish Allsorts for the pilot project, believed to be the first of its kind for a UK rail station.

 Pet therapy works by lowering the heart rate and reducing anxiety and stress through the release of feel good hormones oxytocin, serotonin and prolactin.  It has previously been used to help people  in hospitals and residential homes.

 Fiona Main, Virgin Trains Team Leader at Stafford who recently won an award for her work in the community said: “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.”

Anyone who missed Tuesday’s visit will get another opportunity to meet and handle the creatures on Thursday, October 11, when Dale Preece-Kelly from Critterish Allsorts and his animal pals will be at the station from 4pm to 7pm.

Slide show images provided by Elizabeth Fleming.

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