Global Business School for Health


Trying a SU activity: Canine Comfort - unwinding with therapy Dogs on campus

23 June 2023

End-of-term stress? UCL Student Union's therapy dogs are here! Student ambassador Feham shares his unforgettable day with these furry stress-busters on campus in our latest blog. Dive in and discover their calming magic.


With term two ending, it’s that time of the year again! During this stressful season, the student’s union at UCL organised a visit from therapy dogs to allow students to interact with them. This much-needed break allowed everyone to relax and destress. Research has shown that spending just a few minutes with a therapy dog can significantly lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increase the production of oxytocin (the "love hormone"), leading to a sense of calmness and relaxation. Seeing these cute dogs can provide a serotonin boost and lift students' moods.

The end of term is especially stressful for UCL students, and universities worldwide have implemented various methods to help their students cope. Among these methods, therapy dogs have become one of the most popular and effective ways to alleviate stress. These furry companions bring joy, comfort, and relief to all UCL students during exam season. 

This is an activity that the student’s union organises now and then. Upon arrival, the therapy dogs and their handlers settle into a cosy area where the dogs are trained to follow commands such as shaking hands, sitting, and standing, for which they are rewarded with snacks. Students are encouraged to interact with the dogs by petting and cuddling them. Most of the dogs are incredibly friendly, and once the initial excitement subsides, students begin to play and bond with them. The therapy dogs respond to students with enthusiastic tail wagging, wet kisses, and cheerful barks. Each dog has its unique way of engaging with students. Some are calm and gentle, while others are more energetic and playful, like Bruno. Bruno is also an Instagram celebrity!


Spending time with these dogs was an experience that I'll never forget. From the moment I arrived at the main area where the dogs were stationed, I could feel a wave of calm wash over me. There were a few canines sniffing around, wagging their tails, and being petted by students, volunteers, and even some faculty members. As I sat down on a blanket next to Bruno and stroked his soft fur, I could feel my anxiety melting away. Bruno nuzzled into my lap, and I felt a sense of connection and warmth I hadn't experienced in a while.

Overall, my day with therapy dogs on campus was a testament to the power of animals to heal and comfort us in times of stress and uncertainty. I can see why therapy dogs have become such a popular and beloved presence on campuses across the country, and I highly recommend anyone who's feeling stressed or anxious to give therapy dogs a try – trust me, it's worth it!