Therapy Dogs Help Soothe Anxiety In Troubled Youth
February 7, 2017
Mac (5) and Isis (10) are therapy dogs that visit the Hillcrest campus residential homes and the school classrooms in Dubuque. 2 nights a week they come to work with me to interact with the kids in the residential homes. The kids look forward to their visits and some make treats for them during their free time. Both dogs have been a great help to kids in crisis. They have both helped deescalate kids or just be there when they feel overwhelmed and sad. Isis has been visiting the houses and classrooms for almost 8 years. Mac (the Golden Retriever) has been visiting for about 3 years now.
Kids in the houses will ask “can I have some one on one time with Mac/Isis?” Or “can they come and tuck me in tonight?” At the school many kids and staff will say how seeing the dogs has “made their day.”
When kids are discharged from the programs Mac and Isis will come up to help send them on their way. Most of what the dogs do is supply a welcome distraction from the day to day routine of the houses and school. They are calming presence and non judgmental listener and buddy.
-Kent Nelson, Night Supervisor (aka Batman), Anna B. Lawther Acadmey, Dubuque