Animal Connections

Animal-assisted wellbeing 

Exclusive to The Unconditional Love Foundation, our Animal Connections program connects young people and adults with our wellbeing dogs in schools and community settings.

Program participants spend quality, fully supervised time engaging with our friendly dogs to:

  • Promote positive emotional and mental health
  • Boost confidence and communication
  • Enhance concentration, self-regulation and learning ability
  • Build strong relationships and social connections
  • Engender empathy

By combining evidence-based, trauma-informed practices with hands-on animal learning and engagement experiences, we aim to create wellbeing benefits for people and animals through increases in knowledge, skill development and inter-species empathy.


Animal engagement and learning experiences at your venue


Program tailored to meet participant needs


Single and multi-visit program delivery


Extensive animal-assisted program experience


Berry Street Education Model trained


Dogs independently assessed for suitability and safety

“School students who attend our program tell us they feel happier after engaging with our wellbeing dogs. They tell us having our dogs in their classroom helps them feel more relaxed and gives them something to look forward to.”


Leah Munnery

Program leader

Benefits of animal-assisted wellbeing

Our program is far more than patting a dog, although that is a wonderful place to start.

The wellbeing benefits of connecting with animals are profound. 

A happy, healthy relationship between people and dogs especially, can reduce stress and provide a sense of connection and belonging. 

Our program delivers a range of proactive and responsive animal-assisted interventions to support the emotional, social and mental wellbeing of young people and adults in need. Wellbeing dogs boost joy, create calm and invoke empathy, while encouraging emotional literacy, communication, self-confidence and self-regulation - all with a wag!  

Through our Animal Connections program, we invite young people and adults to experience a more compassionate world by connecting with our wellbeing dogs. 

Some of the groups we have been fortunate to partner with include: 

  • Children experiencing disadvantage 
  • School children with development and learning difficulties 
  • Students experiencing emotional and mental health challenges 
  • Youths experiencing social disconnection and isolation 
  • University students experiencing acute stress 
  • Young adults experiencing drug and alcohol dependence 
  • Older adults experiencing grief and loneliness 

We also support First Nations, migrant and refugee communities, those experiencing family violence and people living with disability. 

Program details

Discover our program

Girl with dog book
For schools




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Scout plus one
For communities




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Haddie - sitting on grass
For carers




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Our Impact

Creating real impact

In 2022, we connected close to 2,000 young people and adults with our wellbeing dogs in classrooms and communities across Victoria.

Community programs

Classroom programs

322 Participants
1,418 Participants
43 Sessions
345 Sessions
180 Hours
566 Hours

Positive ripple effect


“The impact this program had on our school was wide and immense. I saw a positive change in the students who participated. They showed greater resilience and a true understanding of their own emotional needs and the needs of others. Students who were showing signs of anxiety, would walk into the session with the weight of their own world on their shoulders, and then walk out with a spring in their step. This then had a positive ripple effect on other students and staff alike. I would highly recommend the program.”

Education Support

 Yarra Glen Primary School

Increased confidence


“Anxiety reduction in students was noticeable. Students were always keen to go and always came back happy. My students have reported that it was fun, they said they felt calm and their confidence increased. We loved having you as part of our school and hope to have you back. I would highly recommend to others.”



Ferntree Gully North Primary School

Best part of the week


“Teachers are now begging for their students to be included in the program after hearing all the positive feedback from both students and teachers. The attitudes and connections with the sessions has changed dramatically and the ‘looking forward to’ has greatly benefited the students, giving a purpose to come to school for some. Parents have said there is a countdown to Thursday and Thursday morning is a breeze. The students themselves know the day and the time and literally come bounding in. One student said, ‘playing with Scout is the best part of my week’.” 


Assistant Principal

Park Ridge Primary School

Caring and nurturing


“Students were calm and relaxed when in the company of the dogs. I enjoyed stopping by each Thursday to give the dogs a pat! All the students (and staff) looked forward to the visits. It has been a positive experience for all. The staff are lovely, caring and nurturing and very much in tune with the dogs and their visitors.”



Ferntree Gully North Primary School

Showing empathy

“Children interacted more with peers when the dogs were here. Children showed empathy when dealing with the dogs. Students loved attending and looked forward to it every week. I really enjoyed the program. It is so beneficial for the children and also staff.”


Education Support

Park Ridge Primary School