Last year, Richmond upon Thames College (RuTC) welcomed long awaited therapy dog, Fred, to its new campus building.
Thanks to his owner, Tina Ball (Attendance, Engagement and Outreach Lead at RuTC), Fred soon became a friend to students and staff alike.
One student who particularly bonded with and benefited from interacting with Fred and the rest of the Student Services team, was Alex Johnson.
Alex joined RuTC in 2020 but due to anxiety, only began engaging with the Student Services the following year.
Alex immediately bonded with Fred, finding his calming presence kept them feeling positive about his studies and personal life.
With this assistance, Alex’s attendance and grades greatly improved. Fred sat with Alex, who was feeling stressed and anxious during their final exams, helping them to relax and ultimately, assisted them in doing their absolute best.
Alex did brilliantly in their exams, achieving a C and A in his A Levels and in late September they are heading to their first-choice university, St Mary’s, Twickenham to study Criminology and Sociology.
Alex looks back at their time at college and the impact Fred had on them fondly, explaining, “Looking back, there is a big difference between me when I started here and when I left.
“I have become more confident, and my attendance improved as I knew there was always somewhere safe for me to go if it all got too much.
“I really would not be where I am now and wouldn't feel as hopeful for the future without the support I had from the Student Services team including Fred.
“It was like having your own set of cheerleaders, they support you, no matter who you are or what you’re struggling with and they have made an enormous difference in my life.”
Learn more about studying A Levels at RuTC here