We went to chill with therapy dogs at UCL and this is what it was like

Everyone needs some furry motivation to come back from Reading Week

The only adequate motivation to roll out of bed the first Monday morning after Reading Week: there are therapy pups on campus.

The much-anticipated event ran from one to three this Monday afternoon at UCL’s Japanese Garden. It was organised by the uni’s Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) as part of  Self-care Week 2021, which spans from 15th to 19th of November. While it’s obvious why these furry friends are so loved by everyone, we – two dog-loving editors at The Tab – decided to investigate the hype ourselves.

But honestly, maybe this article is just a call for unis to invite therapy dogs on campuses more often.

We won’t believe anyone who claims a puppy in a backpack isn’t one of the best things they’ve seen

Everyone was squealing when this happened.

No words – just look at this.

The dogs are volunteers from loving homes

Regular people with “dogs of a certain temperament,” as one of the owners described, can apply to the national charity Pets As Therapy (PAT) to volunteer in these therapy dog events. They don’t go through any particular training, but there are certain tests conducted to make sure the dogs enjoy petting and won’t be bothered by noises and crowds. Aside from being our saviours, these healing pups also spread positivity in places like hospitals and care homes.

Harvey, pictured here, is just a regular chill dog outside of work – and at work.

Even though they certainly master their craft of making us smile, these dogs are no way “full-time professionals” at their “jobs.” Eli, the St Bernard below, only works once or twice a year when he feels like it. Eli’s owner told the Tab: “Sometimes children will read to him. He once went to a hospital and really helped the nurses who were studying for their exams. It definitely has a positive effect on people.”

As you can see, Eli is loving the attention.

‘If there are dogs here [on campus], I would never miss any of my lectures’

Squeezing through the crowd, The Tab came across a student called Kunjam who excitedly said: “I feel like UCL should bring dogs everyday to the campus so we can have a better time [because] dogs definitely help us relax.

“If there are dogs here [on campus], I would never miss any of my lectures – not one. I would wake up first thing in the morning, rush to the Student Centre before my lectures just to see the dogs.”

She later urged us to “make sure to publish the article so UCL can see it and bring dogs more often.”

Who wouldn’t rush to campus to pet this beauty?

See all of UCL SSW’s Self-care Week events here.

For mental health support, Same-day appointments with a SSW advisor are available via enquiries through askUCL or calls to +44 (0)20 7679 0100.

Care First provides online and telephone counselling and advice available 24/7 for all London students. Those studying abroad can use the Global Student Assistance Programme.

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