Basil is only 2 and a half months old and will only be able to be certified from her first birthday, but this future therapy dog has already taken up her duties at the university which she joined at the start of the new school year. It didn’t take long for her to become popular on campus.
Last September, the University of Rhode Island in South Kingstown, in the northeastern United States, welcomed a very special member. This is a young female Labrador Retriever called Basil.
The 10-week-old puppy has been chosen to be the future therapy dog for the psychological counseling center at the university. Its mission will be to comfort students and staff prone to stress and anxiety, reports URI News.
Although she has not yet started the training that will allow her, around the age of one, to be certified, she is already a great help for those who attend the University of Rhode Island.
She didn’t wait long to become the star of the campus. Everyone knows her name and comes to meet her as soon as they see her.
It is Lindsey Anderson, director of the psychological consultation center, who takes care of the young dog and teaches her the basics of her future profession. She had received her for free from Peggy Brogan, owner of Boonefield Labradors in New Hampshire. The breeder had previously donated therapy dogs to local police departments, schools, hospitals and even funeral homes to comfort people going through difficult times.
“The goal is really to get the animals to the places where they are needed most. And there’s no greater need than on college campuses, given what’s going on with student mental health. So far, everyone who has interacted with her is thrilled,” says Lindsey Anderson.
“It’s just about connection,” she continues. For people who experience great distress, this connection with a calm animal helps reduce emotional intensity and regulate some of the physiological responses that arise from increased anxiety and stress.”