We were so excited to have The Cuddle Club as a featured partner this year and to bring the therapeutic benefits of dog therapy to the CIPD Festival of Work.

We had a chat with Aneka Johnson, Founder of The Cuddle Club to learn more about the origins of the company and the benefits of dog therapy.

CIPD: Aneka, what made you start The Cuddle Club

Aneka: Founding a dog therapy company was not on my radar, before starting The Cuddle Club I worked within the entertainment industry, curating and producing live events. I have always loved dogs and looking at how I could have a dog, but it was not realistic as I travelled a lot and was never home. Ironically it took me to completely burn out and my health to hit the floor to get the dog I didn't realise I needed and that would completely change (and save) my life. Only two months after getting Chubbs , I had a blood test (as i wasn't feeling great), then a call from the doctor who informed me that I need an emergency blood transfusion, this led me to being in  hospital and taking two years off work and spending everyday with Chubbs being healed by him, experiencing dog therapy first hand. I started researching the benefits of dog therapy and knew that I could not go back to my old career and wanted to create a platform that advocated the therapeutic benefits of dog therapy to support people’s mental wellbeing.

CIPD: What are the benefits of dog therapy for our health

Aneka:  Dog therapy has been scientifically proven to lower heart rates, blood pressure and release the cuddle hormone oxytocin. Dogs are magnets and are brilliant people connectors and many conversations and friendships are formed through our collective love of our furry friends.

CIPD: What shall we expect at CIPD Festival of Work 

Aneka: Except the cutest, affectionate therapy dogs collectively known as ‘The Cuddle Club Heroes’ who absolutely love interacting and cuddling humans. The Cuddle Club Heroes all go through an assessment process to ensure that they really want to be in environments where they are getting lots of attention and giving and receiving lots of love. We also make sure that the owners are as lovely as their dogs and truly care about the ethos of The Cuddle Club. They are very proud that their dogs are part of such positivity, The Cuddle Club experience is so uplifting, de-stressing, bonding and mood boosting, people have the biggest smiles on their faces during and after. 

CIPD: What is next for The Cuddle Club

Aneka: The Cuddle Club has provided thousands of therapeutic cuddles to humans across London and the country over the past five years, and we plan to increase this number considerably! We have  launched  our initiative ‘ Cuddle For Good’ where we work with companies and brands to provide access to dog therapy within the wider community, reaching disadvantaged people within society who will benefit from the scientifically proven benefits of dog therapy to deliver sessions regularly, for measurable impact, inline with CSR and ESG objectives. We have also launched curated away days at our dog therapy hub of happiness based in Wembley Park, where we encourage teams to leave the office and have a tail wagging wellness experience in iconic Wembley Park. Overall we will continue to work with companies to  support their team's well-being, through our engaging and incredibly cute experiences.

Learn more about how you can work with The Cuddle Club