‘Dogs bring so much joy to many people’: An interview with ‘Dogsoflancs’

No one can alleviate exam stress quite like furry friends

As exam season is creeping upon us and the never-ending stress of coursework deadlines, there is only one thing that can make this time more bearable, and that is dogs. Going for a walk around Williamson Park, the canal or even just into town, you are guaranteed to see an array of different dog breeds. It has been scientifically proven that dogs can help reduce stress – something that we are all feeling right now – so what is not to love about them?

Dogsoflancs, the Instagram page that recently reached 100 followers, features the cutest furry friends Lancaster has to offer. The Lancaster Tab spoke to Hayley Farrell, a former Biology and Psychology student, about her decision to start a page dedicated to the dogs of Lancaster, including her own pup, Ben.

Hayley photographs them all (all those found in Lancaster, that is) with no dog breed being off-limits. We wanted to know what made her start this page and how the running of this page has coped with the lockdown.

‘They have always brought light into my life’

Hayley justified her decision to focus primarily on dogs; she said: “Dogs have their own little personalities and bring so much joy to so many people. I wanted to try and capture something that makes everyone smile and feel happy.”

She went on to say: “Dogs have been a huge part of my life for such a long time, from having my own pet dog who is always by my side to volunteering with Dogs Trust for a year. They have always brought light into my life, especially when things have gotten tough.”

‘I’ve loved every minute of it’

Hayley told us that the account is just over a month old. She said: “I started on the 15th March, and I’ve loved every minute of it!” The former student “has a lot of photos of dogs, and I hope to put them on my Insta very soon.”

‘I think dogs deserve their own space’

The Lancaster Uni alumna told us her reasoning for starting the Instagram account; she said: “I think dogs deserve their own space. I was originally going to post them to my main personal account, but then I had a change of heart.”

Hayley said: “I spent a lot of time during lockdown going for long walks, and so I decided to take up photography as a hobby! I use my dad’s camera, and people seem to love it. Lockdown didn’t affect me that much because we were allowed to go on daily permitted walks, and this gave me the perfect opportunity to take photos of the dogs of Lancaster and to increase my bank of pictures.”

‘The sunsets here are amazing’

Hayley’s favourite place to take pictures of the dogs is “definitely the Lancaster canal, with Morecambe bay coming in at a close second. These places are so beautiful, and the sunsets here are amazing.”

Cute and photogenic with silly faces

Hayley explained that she doesn’t really have a favourite breed; she “likes all dog types, especially the bigger breeds like a Golden Retriever, Labrador and Samoyeds.”

But Hayley is also a sucker for the smaller breeds such as terriers, Shihtzus because they have cute, photogenic, yet silly faces. She said that her favourite breed that she has photographed is the “Border Terrier, for that exact reason.”

The little page with big plans

Hayley hopes to travel in the future and “bring [her] love for dog photography with [her].”

She also said: “I hope that this page will feature not just dogs which I have photographed in Lancaster and Lancashire, but also show dogs from around the UK and maybe even further afield in other countries.”

‘Sometimes dogs come right up to me and my camera’

According to Hayley, “sometimes dogs come right up to me and my camera, so I’d assume that they would want a stroke and be photographed; usually, these are the most cooperative as they approach me. Other times they enjoy their walk too much to stop or are wary of the camera, so I let them go.”

She acknowledges that “it is important to not approach the dogs without their owner’s permission before taking a photo. Despite this, both the owners and the dogs are more than happy to stop for a photo shoot.”

To keep up with Lancaster’s cutest dogs follow @dogsoflancs on Instagram

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