Microsoft's New Venue for Support Animals: Developer Conference

(Bloomberg) -- Technology-conference showrooms are usually crammed with booths hawking software demos and branded swag, and attendees typically wander the floor donning prototype virtual-reality goggles or trying out other new hardware. But at Microsoft's annual Build event for developers, some of the visitors are a bit different. In fact, they aren’t even human.

in a lounge outside the main hall, behind a waist-high white picket fence, Microsoft is offering up a “Cuddle Corner," giving show-goers the chance to relieve the fatigue of a day of meetings and a 3 1/2 hour keynote speech by petting shaggy-maned miniature horses, fuzzy bunnies and what looked like a Golden Retriever.

Jen Gentleman ???? @JenMsft
????⚠️ Attention, this is not a drill! The cuddle corner at #MSBuild is real and the animals adorable. Stop by if you…


This sort of furry therapy is becoming more common on college campuses. At Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, dogs are being deployed to help students de-stress during finals. Guides leading groups of prospective students at schools including the University of California, Los Angeles, boast of the popularity of emotional-support dogs at times of elevated anxiety. Still, this may be a first for a big tech conference. There are other signs that Microsoft is concerned about the health and well-being of Build’s attendees this year. Yesterday’s marathon keynote address was broken up with a few minutes of stretching exercises, led by Allison Krug, part of Microsoft’s Cloud Developer Advocacy Team. According to a co-worker’s post on Twitter, Krug was also the brains behind the petting zoo. 

Microsoft’s developer relations team was so proud of its effort that it even tweeted out its own Build-centric version of the kids’ classic song “Old MacDonald.” 

Microsoft Developer @msdev
@shockeyk @TheAdamBr #MSBuild, it had a zooTo help all relaxWith a bun-bun here and a doggo thereHere a horse, t…



On Tuesday, Microsoft also provided other ways to amp up or wind down in a lounge it set up outside the Build keynote hall. A candy bar along one wall offered Pixy Stix, Lemonheads, Sour Patch Kids and other sugary choices for those in need of a non-caffeinated pick-up-me, along with probiotic shots in glass jars. In a nearby corner there were yoga mats and an adjacent quiet zone with books on the Linux and Python programming languages, which visitors could peruse while seated in egg-shaped chairs. 

To contact the author of this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at

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