All the way from Montana, there’s a new pup here in Husky Nation! While you may first see her golden coat and wagging tail while she’s out for a morning walk or playing catch with her favorite WestPaw frisbee on the lower field, she also has a job to do here in New Hampton. Her name is Sage, and she is a certified therapy dog.
Sage is a super approachable five-year-old golden retriever, weighing in at only 60 pounds—but don’t let her smaller frame fool you. She’s full-grown and full of knowledge. Therapy dogs are pets with the demonstrated temperament and obedience skills to make social and emotional support visits. However, it’s essential to know Sage (and therapy dogs in general) are not service dogs.
Over the past 30 years, research indicates that therapy dogs may offer children physiological, emotional, social, and physical support (Friesen, 2010). The use of therapy dogs with children is successful due to children’s natural tendency to open up to animals and the stress-moderating effect of a therapy dog’s calm and nonjudgmental presence (Jalongo, Astorino & Bomboy, 2004). The benefits include promoting positive moods, increasing confidence, enhancing motivation, lowering stress levels, and much more.
Certified therapy dogs have been through training and are registered with the handler and organization—Director of Counseling Services Nicole Siciliano and Sage have been certified as a Pet Therapy Team through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
New Hampton students will have the opportunity to meet Sage on campus and through counseling sessions if they are interested. We are excited to welcome Sage as she supports our campus community!